Insights from a Primary/Junior Teacher Candidate

Chase Johnson, is a second year Primary/Junior MT candidate who enjoys the challenges of being a teacher. Below is his account of his first year in the program!
“Teaching is by far the most frustrating and rewarding job I have ever had. It is also the hardest job I have ever had. It has been a very difficult year in the MT program, with what I can only assume will be another even more difficult one to follow”
1. What is practicum/lesson planning like in P/J?
Practicum was a taste of reality. Like a student at that age it was exciting and exhausting, the best day and the worst day at once. It took tons of time and energy just to be ready for a 30 minute class on area and perimeter, not to mention the other 4 or 5 classes that day. Lesson planning in P/J is like lesson planning for any age group. Anyone who has planned a lesson before will know that understanding your students is the most important aspect when planning or delivering a lesson. Sometimes an example will involve Pokémon or fidget spinners, but the lesson is still planned the same way; trying to deliver the information in the most fun and engaging way. It cemented the fact that I had made the right choice in my career path, especially at the P/J level. Watching the stress, anger and then final relief of a student trying to learn something that seems simple is incredibly rewarding. It was moments like these that made all the stress and planning worthwhile and make me happy to be a teacher of young children at the P/J level.
2. How are you bringing the P/J teaching environment into the MTRP?
My own MTRP was directly influenced in my time in P/J classrooms. I have had the pleasure of watching Inquiry based learning, and specifically Reggio Emilia techniques being utilized for all ages from SK – Gr6. My research is focused on the use of the Reggio Emilia approach within P/J classrooms in Toronto in both the public and private sectors which will hopefully highlight the benefits of child-directed, inquiry based learning.
3. Why did you choose OISE, MT, P/J, and the Ryerson cohort?
My younger cousin attended OISE through the MT program and when she heard that I was interested she recommended the MT program to me. I was interested by the designation of a Master’s program for teaching as I was looking to further my education, and this was the field I was interested in. Her recommendation coupled with OISE’s elite reputation motivated me to apply. As for the P/J level and this cohort, that was an easy choice. I have spent time teaching students of all ages and always felt that I connected with the younger students. I have the energy and the patience to teach young children (and sometimes feel like I have the sense of humor of a six year old). Though it can be exhausting teaching at the P/J level, it is also the most rewarding and I feel I am suited to the task perfectly.
This cohort was the same for me. It directly related to my ideals as a person and as a teacher. It provided an outlet for me to further my goals of Social and Eco-justice in our society. It is especially important for young children to be introduced to these concepts as they are the ones who will eventually shape our society. This has always been important to me and guided my teaching practice. This cohort was therefore an easy choice and I am happy to be a part of such a motivated group of people. I want to thank all my professors, my ATs during practicum and especially my cohort members for being so supportive and helping make P/J 141/241 the best cohort in the program!

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