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If you are a future student and want to become a teacher, the Concurrent Education program at York may be the path for you.
As a current teacher candidate, I am enrolled in the one-year consecutive education program in the Faculty of Education at York University. I’m grateful that I was admitted to this competitive program, but if I had the chance to redo my university experience, I’d probably have applied to the concurrent program. Here’s why.
Earning two degrees at once
As a high-school student, you may not be aware that the Bachelor of Education degree (more often referred to as Teachers’ College) will change from a one-year consecutive program to a two-year consecutive program beginning September 2015. This means that it will take two years to earn a BEd degree instead of one year. The difference between consecutive and concurrent is that the concurrent education program gives you the ability to complete your undergraduate degree plus your BEd degree at the same time.
If you are part of the concurrent program starting in September 2015, you will spend the first year taking courses in your initial undergraduate degree. You will also take one education course. This means that you’ll be a part of the education community as well as your initial undergraduate community. You’ll actually take courses for both degrees from your first year of university until graduation.
My journey was a bit different. I began my BEd degree a year after I received my initial four year degree. I spent the time in between my degrees working full-time at York for the Faculty of Science where I was a Communications Assistant. Since my initial undergraduate degree wasn’t in Education, I was not a part of the Faculty of Education student community until I began my program in September.
More opportunities to get involved
In my experience, the Education student community is very inspiring. While I enjoyed my undergraduate program in the Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), looking back, I would have benefited from more time in the Faculty of Education. I would have made more contacts and had more time to take up offers provided by Education. I’m just about to enter my teaching block as a teacher candidate (which means I will be at my placement teaching all of my mentor teachers classes for three straight weeks!). I am extremely excited, but having to juggle the block, with trying to make time for the workshops I want to attend, as well as professional development and other teaching opportunities provided by the Faculty of Education Students’ Association (FESA) and has me swamped.
Extra time to network
If you are planning on becoming a teacher, then you may have been warned about the competitive job market. Having time throughout your undergrad degree to be involved in both Faculties will be a great resource to you because you will have the support systems from both your initial degree and your BEd. You’ll also be able to attend teacher and board conferences that much sooner, attend workshops and professional development sessions (which will help you make connections) and also have a diverse variety of volunteer teaching experiences that you can add to your resumé.
This past November, I attended a professional development and teacher education conference in Toronto held by the Ontario History and Social Sciences Teachers’ Association (OHAASTA). The conference was more than $300 but current teacher candidates were able to attend one day of the conference at a substantial discount. We also received a certificate for our workshop attendance that we could list on our resumé. The conference was such a great experience. It was held at the Delta Hotel and included four workshops (of our choice) and a teacher resources fair that gave out tons of cool free stuff like DVDs on historical events, discount prices for possible school trips and even free novels and textbooks.
There were teachers from all across Ontario and I got to network and break bread with principals, authors and teachers. Some of the other students at the event were York students from the Concurrent Ed program. It made me realize all of the great professional development opportunities, workshops and resources the Faculty of Education offers its students. Had I been in the concurrent program since my first year of undergrad, I would have had more time to take advantage of all of these opportunities and would’ve been able to attend the annual OHAASTA conference more than once.
The chance to study abroad
There are tons of opportunities to study abroad as an Education student. While an international practicum placement is available to students in the consecutive program for the month of May, students in the concurrent education program can participate in exchanges like the Freiburg Exchange Program to Germany which is three months long! Also, the Faculty of Education is dedicated to making the trip affordable for all students, so they often cover travel expenses for the exchange to Germany. Students can also apply to scholarships to cover additional costs.
If you are considering the concurrent education program, you can apply through the 101 application on the OUAC website. You’ll need to select the Faculty you are applying to and also the Pre-Education Direct Entry Program. Remember that the last day to apply to university on the OUAC website is January 14, 2015 by 11:59PM! (But pleeeeeaaase don’t wait until the last minute to apply. Technology isn’t always reliable, so it’s better to play it safe and apply at least a few days in advance!)
Good luck with your applications. If you have any questions about university feel free to tweet me @yorkustudents.