Becoming a teacher in BC - what are my options?
Generally, if you intend to become a teacher in British Columbia you must plan to spend approximately five years in full-time study at a post-secondary institution. You may choose to study on a part-time basis, but this lengthens the time it takes to complete your credential(s) and become qualified to teach.
Teacher education options in British Columbia are available in three areas: Elementary Education (Grades 1 - 5), Middle School Education (Grades 6 - 8), and Secondary School Education (Grades 9 - 12). Some elementary education programs, such as UFV's BEd (elementary/middle school option) can cover both elementary and middle school preparation.
Teacher education programs in BC - how are they organized?
The five years of study are divided into two areas:
a) the academic, or university portion: here you learn about what you will teach (e.g. English, History, Math, etc.)
Elementary school teachers are considered "generalists" and will need a broad curricular background, in order to be prepared to teach many subject areas.
Secondary school teachers are considered "specialists", who will complete a major or minor in one or two teachable areas, which they will eventually teach.
Middle school teachers can benefit from the broad curricular background similar to elementary school teachers, but can also have a specialization area.
The academic, or university portion of your education normally takes four years of full-time study to complete an undergraduate degree (Bachelor degree). Many students balance university studies with work commitments and volunteer work, thereby taking more than four years to complete the Bachelor's degree.
b) the teacher education portion: this is also referred to as your professional teacher preparation year. At UFV this is a one year full-time program (BEd as a second degree). You will a) complete the requirements for the teacher education program, i.e. learning how to teach, and b) put that learning into practice by going out on extended teaching practica. At this time, the teacher education portion of the program can be taken on a full-time basis only. At UFV the teacher education portion is the BEd, after you have already completed a four year degree. You have the option of entering into the BEd and choosing the elementary/middle school option, or the secondary school option with either a math/science or humanities stream (teachable subjects of English and Social Studies).
Putting together an educational plan that meets your needs and interests:
The structures of teacher education programs vary, depending on the institution and the option you choose. At UFV the Bachelor of Education is a post-baccalaureate professional program. In other words it is a one year program after applicants have completed a bachelors degree. If you have questions about what program options are best for you and how you can develop your program plan towards the teaching profession, you are advised to attend one of the TE Information Seminars or see the Educational Advisor for an appointment.