By Allyssia Alleyne
Ryerson students dreaming of a future in teaching might get sent straight back to the enrollment office after graduation.
“I need another teachable so I have to go back and take five more courses,” said Brianna Shields, a third-year psychology student.
Students who have applied to earn their Bachelors of Education at Ontario universities are often asked to get more credits. This is because most Bachelors of Education require applicants take a certain number of classes in the particular subjects that they want to teach (called teachables) to be considered for admission. Ryerson degrees don’t equal acceptance into teacher’s college because most programs don’t cover the amount of mandatory credits required to have two teachables.
This includes programs like arts and contemporary studies and social sciences that are generally good undergrads for teaching degrees.
Ian MacLeod, the assistant registrar at the University of Toronto’s teacher’s college, said students just don’t fully understand the credit requirements when they apply.
The problem is that what defines a credit differs from school to school. “At Ryerson, a half-year course is worth one credit, but at U of T, a full-year course is worth a whole credit,” said MacLeod. “Or at York, a half-year credit is worth three credits.”
This can lead to confusion when students apply assuming that the value of a credit is the same at every institution.
For example, a Ryerson student may take three half-year courses without realizing that they actually need six to get into U of T’s teacher’s college. MacLeod says that this confusion can be easily avoided. “Everything’s very clear in our 22-page application handbook,” said MacLeod, though he acknowledges that the document can be intimidating.
Sunny Wong, the career counsellor for Ryerson’s faculty of arts, declined to comment when asked why Ryerson students are still facing challenges when it comes to applying and having their credits honoured. Wong says students with questions should attend one of his workshops on applying to graduate and professional schools, the last of which took place in January, or email him directly.
“The Faculty of Arts has been pretty good with workshops to prepare students and let them know what they need and offer course suggestions,” said Derek Carkner, the president of the arts and contemporary studies course union.
And while Shields said Ryerson should be more up front about the issue, she says it’s ultimately up to the student to plan their own eduction.