I am a Professor. I work at George Brown College in various departments.
What are the challenges you face in your work?
I would love to be able to support all students outside of my teaching hours and be compensated for that time. I believe that teaching is more than classroom delivery; it is also about providing students with the tools they need to work through challenges that may get in the way of their learning. It is also about creating connections and relationships; which can’t happen in 3 hours a week. As part-time faculty, I don’t always have an office to work in or to meet confidentially with students. In addition to other work I take on, I also have to find time to attend staff meetings, which are often unpaid, and continue to cultivate relationships with decision makers to ensure that my teaching contracts continue.
Why do you love your job?
I love my job because I love teaching. I have worked in the field of education for almost twenty years and whenever I am in the classroom, I am in my element. I truly enjoy working with students as they begin to open up to learning about their chosen field of work. I love seeing the excitement as they begin their field practicums and are getting a feel for our collective goals of supporting folks in our communities.
Tell us about your proudest moment.
There are many but one that I recall quite vividly involved a student who came to me after a few classes and shared all of the ways she finally felt connected. For the first time, she saw herself reflected back in the teaching and my identity as a parent, and as a queer, brown woman. She said that she hadn’t met anyone in all her difficult years of learning who she connected with and felt understood her. She was going through some challenges with immigration and children’s services; on the verge of deportation and potentially having her children taken from her custody. She felt empowered in her learning and saw how she could advocate for herself with my support. I was moved by her story and found every possible opportunity to provide resources, referrals and support, as best I could. In the end, she was able to remain in Canada with her children; and went on to graduate from the program, with honours.
What would job security and better working conditions mean to you?
More job security would mean less financial stress for me, and my family. If full-time positions are not available; it would be ideal to offer long-time part-time faculty more secure contracts, over multiple semesters, then we wouldn’t have to take on other work to make ends meet. I have recently had to make the difficult decision to lessen my teaching load to take on a full-time, non-teaching position outside of the college. It is not my preference, but I am aware that a full-time teaching contract is currently out of my reach. Better working conditions and job security benefit all; myself, my colleagues and most importantly, our students.