Getting Settled into Grad School (September Overview)

by Susan
Master of Teaching


In this post I will be looking back at my transition to:

  1. The University of Toronto St. George Campus
  2. OISE and UTS (Faculty of Education) Building
  3. My cohort
  4. A Typical Week in September

 UofT Campus

I was not prepared for the culture shock of a downtown campus – even though I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto. I spent 4 years in Hamilton, ON while I attended McMaster University. Compared to UofT’s campus which is situated on the TTC subway line and a gateway into Queen’s Park, University Health Network, and Chinatown, McMaster’s campus was standing more on its own with a distinct “on-campus” or “off-campus” feel. I had become accustomed to that distinction in my surroundings that I found myself over-whelmed by the amount of traffic, local shops and businesses, and passer-by’s who are just in the area and don’t even attend the university.


I haven’t decided if I like the fact that OISE is immediately connected to St. George station or not. It is certainly convenient for commuters (and during winter) but it is not the same experience as setting foot to the heart of campus and seeing the architecture of some of the iconic UofT buildings each day. Sometimes I have moments where I remember “Oh yeah, OISE is part of the university”.

Depending on the cohort (group) you are assigned and your teachable subject(s), you may also experience classes at the University of Toronto Schools (UTS) – an independent grade 7 – 12 school. As for myself, I spend most of my day at the UTS site, with classes during the day and the option to volunteer with extracurricular activities of the school.

What is a cohort?

Within the three teaching levels, students are split into smaller groups of 30 or so. These individuals will be your rock for the two years in the MT as you take all mandatory courses together. You can count on making awesome new friends no matter which cohort you are placed in. The cohort model also gives each group of TC’s an unique personality. For example, University of Toronto Schools is home to my cohort for intermediate/senior TCs with Global Citizenship being the theme of our cohort and have all my classes at the UTS site.

Typical September week

Class officially started September 12 for MT students and orientation was the week prior. Already half-way into the month, it was a somewhat challenging transition from vacation-mode to serious-school mode. The first week of school was very exciting – new faces and new places. Class discussions reaffirmed my attitude towards group work and problem-based learning.

Expect 16 – 19 hours of class time per week and classes run Monday through Thursday between the hours of 9am – 4pm with occasional half days. You might think that’s nearly as long as a 9 to 5 job but its absolutely doable!

As I reached the last week of September, assignment deadlines became VERY real although class has only been in session for 2 weeks. Nearly catching me off guard, but at the same time the change in pace was exhilarating and kept me on top of my game.

Bottom line to prevent burning out: Know your limits and play within it!

1 thought on “Getting Settled into Grad School (September Overview)

  1. Ting

    Hi Susan,

    I was wondering if you get into the UTS cohort group, could you still do your practicum in other schools? Or majority of your practica will be at UTS?


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