This year, as a part of my Career Life Education course, I had to interview a person who held a position in a career I was interested in. I have always been interested in teaching, as well as the French language and humanities. As such, I reached out to a middle school French Immersion teacher who focuses mainly on French language arts and socials related courses. She agreed to meet virtually for a short interview. For privacy, I will not refer to her by name, but whenever I reference “she”, I am referring to the interviewee. When we met, she gave me a plethora of tips and helpful comments and welcomed all my questions. I learned so much, but the three main points I will touch on are summer jobs, university programs, and high school courses.
One of the fist comments she made was picking appropriate jobs that compliment your targeted career. When applying to a Bachelor of Education, she recommended focusing on jobs such as babysitting, camp counselors, and other jobs that involve working with children. This provides you with good experience, and you can figure out early on whether a career working with young children is for you. These sorts of jobs look good on a resume for this type of career trajectory.
The next point was university programs. If your plan is to be a French Immersion teacher, there are two possible routes: taking a Bachelor of Education specifically for French Immersion or speaking the language fluently. After university, there are a series of written and oral French tests you must pass to officially work as a French teacher. She explained that since she grew up speaking French, she was enrolled in a Bachelor of Education unrelated to the French language given that she already spoke the language fluently. She then just had to take the tests to prove she could speak an appropriate level of French. However, for someone like me, who took French Immersion only up to grade eight, I would need to apply to a Bachelor of Education in French.
The final point is high school courses. She recommended a few different electives that would contribute to a career in teaching. The first course was either a psychology or sociology course. She explained that either one of those classes would help improve your understanding of people overall. This skillset would be helpful in teaching where you are constantly working with a slew of other people, many of whom are younger than you. And if you are looking to be specifically a French teacher – which I am – it is important to take as many French courses as possible in high school. That being said, she acknowledged that because I am no longer in French Immersion, the French courses offered are limited. She emphasized that although this would make it trickier, it would certainly not be impossible. One point she did make, though, was that the most common path for a teacher in BC is to take a four-year undergraduate degree before going into the Bachelor of Education. She suggested taking advantage of that time in the undergrad program to explore more French courses. This would prepare me for a Bachelor of Education specifically focused in French.
I learned a ton throughout this interview, and I am really grateful for all the information the interviewee was able to give me to contribute to my early career planning. This experience has been extraordinarily helpful!