Monthly Archives: September 2015

Welcome back!

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Hello Blog-o-sphere. Long time no blog! Its Caitlin, back from a whirlwind of a summer. Im returning to OISE as a second year Masters of Teaching Student. As well, I am returning as one of OISE’s Student Ambassadors. This is just my welcome back and introductory post as I want to expand on 2 things, in its own separate posts. Before I jump into those 2 posts, I want to Welcome You to OISE!

The first blog post is my experiences this summer. If you have been following my journey, you will know that I have spent the summer travelling and teaching in Asia. While working internationally, I was also enrolled in a summer course to help me finish my third chapter of my MTRP. I want to expand on my struggles and triumphs working on this chapter, and how to prepare year 1 students for this endeavour. To read my story, click here:

The second blog post is to give you my top 5 tips to survive your first month at OISE. Whether you are a new student or a returning student, the first month is simply insane. I have compiled my personal survival tips to keep you updated and on the ball. To read about my tips, click here:



School is (not) out for summer

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

[Editor’s Note: This post was written on September 25, 2015. OISE’s MT Program has changed since this post, and Caitlin’s experiences are coming from the old program. The full program schedule is posted here.]

If you have been following my journey since last year, you will know I was travelling and teaching in Southeast Asia for the summer. My plan was to first travel to Thailand, teach at a private institution in South Korea and then travel to Bali before returning home for the start of second year. All Year 1 MT students were instructed to work on their Chapter 3 of their MTRP over the summer and have it completed before school starts. Knowing that I would be in a crunch, I decided to work on it before I left on my trip. 2 weeks before my trip, I managed to produce half of the chapter and decided that was a good start until I reopened it in August. So I saved the document and started packing my bags.

During my first week in Thailand, I decided to open up my email. I received an email from the MT faculty regarding the submission of my Chapter 3. In the email, it detailed that every MT Year 1 student will be responsible to write their third chapter of their MTRP and have it submitted for approval by August 12. Each student would be given a supervisor who would look over their work and would be responsible for approving the drafts submitted. Applying it to my scenario, it meant I could not reopen it when I returned from my travels. It mean’t I had to be working on the rest of my chapter while I continued my journey in Asia.

And wow was that task ever hard. There was many factors playing into the completion of my chapter. Firstly, I didn’t have all my study notes for the chapter with me. I tend to hand write my notes because I am more engaged when I have to write things down. So I had to reread some of my readings. Secondly, I began working at private institution and needed to prepare my lessons. I was under a lot of pressure at work to help my students raise their SAT scores and I virtually had no time to even think about my MTRP during the first month of work. Once I started working on it during my last month of work, before my trip to Bali, I already knew it was no where near close to what I wanted to submit. And if I were to have it unfinished while I was in Bali, I just knew I would not enjoy myself to the fullest. So I decided to buy a plane ticket home, cut my trip to Bali and work on the submission of my third chapter. So back and forth, I played the email game with my supervisor and kept submitting my revised drafts.

On August 10th, I finally received my final approval for my chapter 3! Hooray! August 10th would have also been the day I would have arrived in Toronto from my travels. It was incredibly disappointing to put my travel plans on hold in order to finish my Chapter 3. I know that I am not the only person in the MT program away for the summer and I heard from many people how hard it was to finish.

All About Anne

Sheldon Zian
by Zian Zhang(Anne)
Master of Education student

1)      Why did you choose OISE? And, why did you choose the Masters of Education program?

Through my consulting and research, OISE is the ideal place that offers the advanced education and training that I am seeking. I will be exposed to the instructions of world famous scholars and experts whose academic ideas will significantly broaden my academic horizon. Equally important is that I can enjoy an inexhaustible variety of advanced teaching resources.

I chose the program of Curriculum Studies & Teacher Development Program (M.Ed.) because this program would be very helpful in achieving my dream. What appeals to me about this program is the broad range of options available including topics that cover policy and curriculum development.

2)      What is your academic and/or personal background?

From September 2010 to June 2014, I studied Teaching Chinese as a Second Language at Zhejiang University of Media and Communications, in China. It focused on cultivating students’ special abilities on bilingual teaching, solid professional knowledge and background of Chinese and English languages, more comprehensive understanding of Chinese culture and literature and foreign cultural exchanges

3)      Future aspirations

I want to become a teacher first after I finish my postgraduate program. When I get enough teaching experience, I plan to open an educational organization and become an excellent manager.

I also want to help children who cannot go to school to receive education as fairly as others. In other words, I want every child in my country to have a chance to study. In my childhood, I could see on television that many children like me had no chance to sit in a classroom and receive even the most basic education. Later, as I grew up, I also found that the education in China could not bring much happiness for students. Instead, many students are under great pressure. I very much hope to change this situation. Though I know that it is not an easy problem to solve, I simply want to make my own contribution.

4)      Best study spot on campus
University of Toronto has more than 40 libraries on campus. My favourite library is Sigmund Samuel Library which is located at Gerstein Science Information Centre, King’s College Circle Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A5. My favourite study spot overlooks the park, many trees and cute squirrels. It is great to look outside and see a beautiful view while studying.

5)      What can you not live without?

Relationships are important to me. I cannot live without those who love me and care for me, such as my family and friends.

5 tips for survival

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

We are well into our first week back at OISE. I don’t know about you, but I already feel overwhelmed. Each course syllabus looks the same. Each assignments sounds the same. Each classroom looks the same.

But together, we are going to get through this first month and we will make it a successful one while we are at it! Here are my 5 tips for surviving the first month at OISE.

  1. Get a (GSU) agenda- Let’s get all those important dates organized and written down in an agenda. It doesn’t have to be the GSU agenda, any one will work. Personally, I like to colour coordinate my dates by putting all my academic related dates in blue and all my personal dates in red. This way I can see my plans effectively, and see when to schedule study time or personal down time.
  2. Hart House activities and events- Hart House does a wonderful job of creating multiple events throughout the year, especially in the first month of school. To check out the full list of events by month, click here:
  3. Sign up for workshops and conferences- OISE’s student services department hosts many workshops and conferences throughout the year. I recommend signing up early for the workshops and conferences as they fill up fast. The workshops and conferences are great for professional development and networking with peers. Furthermore, your attendance to each workshop/conference is recorded and attached to your transcripts one you graduate. To see the full list of workshops and conferences, click here:
  4. Apply for Work Study Positions- UofT hires hundreds of students each year for work study positions. Students must be registered in at least 2.0 credit continuously from September 2015 to April 2016 (at least 40% for graduate students). There are various unique jobs around campus to apply for. I highly recommend to apply for them, as you don’t work more than 12 hours per week and you create great relationships with your employers. To apply and see the full list of positions click here:
  5. Schedule in some downtime- Seems really silly to write this as a tip, but burning out during your first month is not fun. I even have to remind myself to take regular breaks, hang out with my friends and get away from the books (for a short period of time). I personally like binging on a couple of episodes of Friends, or going for a run or even hanging out with my cohort after class. Pick whatever relaxes you and puts you at ease.

I hope my tips help you through your first month at OISE. These are good reminders for me, as a returning student, to continue the work ethic throughout the upcoming school year. Good luck everyone!