A local teacher finds a passion through her health

The oversupply of teachers over the past decade hasn’t stopped some graduates from finding full-time positions with a school board.

In high school, Caylin Metcalfe, 24, of Aurora, never dreamed she could become a teacher. Yet this January, she did it against many odds, including a learning disability and low employment rates in her field.

Finding full-time teaching work in Ontario has been a challenge over the past ten years, so in 2015 the provincial government reduced the number of teaching graduates from 9,000 to 4,500 grads each year.

Metcalfe graduated from UOIT’s Bachelor of Education program and knows this challenge all too well of the low employment rates in teaching. Yet, she wanted to become a teacher because of her own learning disability.

Her kindergarten teachers noticed she had trouble reading, and discussed the problem with her parents.

In Grades 3 and 4, Metcalfe recognized her disability when she would read out loud and stumble over her words.

Although she was shy and didn’t want to feel embarrassed in front of her peers, her teachers’ care and support guided her daily to improve her reading skills. The constant encouragement lead Metcalfe to want to help people the same way.

“I had these teachers who were really supportive, especially my principal at the time, and they pushed and encouraged me,” she said. “I was a borderline student and this two-year program called ISA did not want to take me on, and she pushed for me, and with that program I excelled for that one year. I went back to school and I was much better in my reading ability.”

In high school, Metcalfe wasn’t comfortable talking about her disability, and thought becoming a teacher was not an option.

“When I was young and thinking that I had a learning disability, there’s no way I could be a teacher because I couldn’t be smart enough if that’s the situation,” she said. “I honestly think without them, I never would’ve been able to be so successful and even consider other careers.”

Metcalfe also considered marine biology, engineering, and architecture. Ultimately, her goal was to help people find their passion through teaching.

Currently, Metcalfe has full-time hours in her field. She tutors and works for STEM Minds in Aurora, teaching children on science-related subjects, and she occasionally works as emergency supply teacher.

She graduated with teachable subjects in biology and chemistry for the intermediate and senior division of Grade 7 to 12.

Metcalfe was told she wouldn’t get the chance to be a teacher because of the low employment rates. However, she listened to her heart and followed her path to want to teach.

“It all came down to the fact that I wanted to help others,” she said. “I want to continue to push students to find their areas of strengths, their areas of need, and help support them through it, so that they can basically do whatever they want to do.”