School to Work: Episode 4 Education Grad


Interview with Megan Legere, Education Graduate

image7Are you passionate about working with kids and helping them learn? Would you like to know what it’s like to be a new teacher just starting out?

I recently interviewed Megan Legere, who completed both a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts at Bishop’s University in 2015.  Megan graduated with an impressive triple major in drama, studio arts, and education.  She has since been in the process of pursuing a career as a teacher – which as I learned, comes with many up’s and down’s, but has been an overall worthwhile and rewarding experience for Megan. 

Listen to the podcast and read on for all of Megan’s life lessons and advice – and also to find out how she’s using cupcakes to make her own “career luck!”

Listen here to the full interview podcast:

Don’t have time to listen to the full Podcast?  Here are a few excerpts from my interview with Megan:

L: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself in terms of your academic and work background?

M: I graduated with a triple major in drama, studio arts, and education, so secondary and elementary teaching.  I studied for five years at Bishop’s University. […] From those entire five years, I was doing practicums and education classes, which were really helpful in preparing me for the real world as a teacher. I did over a thousand hours in the schools before graduation, and it was excellent because I had opportunities to not just help out in the classroom but to be the assistant director to two musicals that I’ve done during stages.

L: Can you tell me about your transition in terms of going directly from high school to university?

M: Well it was definitely a big wake-up call.  I moved away from home when I was 18 years old and there was no Cegep to transition me, it was just straight from high school to university and it was really good because it forced you to either sink or swim.  You had to figure out a way to balance your social life and your personal life, which can be really difficult coming from having your parents there all the time to keep you on track – and then you now have to figure it out for yourself, so it was definitely hard but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

“It was definitely a big wake-up call.”

Megan’s “Words of Wisdom” for Youth:

  • It’s okay to make mistakes: “Sometimes you make mistakes, but as long as you learn from those mistakes, it can be really beneficial. […] I truly believe that failure is our best teacher, and that if we take the time to reflect on it, we’ll really learn. If we’re afraid to fail then we’ll never really take risks, and we’re not going to push ourselves to be the best that we can be.”
  • Don’t give up: “My advice is don’t give up […] If it’s what you really want to do, it’s something that you need to push through, and find your way – so you need to make the opportunities for yourself and not just wait for them to happen.”

L: In terms of other youth who may be considering a career in education or as a teacher, do you have any recommendations in terms of what skills or characteristics they should possess?

M: I think that the biggest thing that a teacher needs is to be able to put themselves at the same level as the students and to just open up and to find ways that you can relate to them in order to build that strong rapport, because having a strong rapport with your students is everything. They respect you so much more when you have that relationship with them and it shows that you really care about them when you get to know them on a personal level other than just, you know, a name and a grade. To know that there are going to be a lot of hard days, there’s going to be days when you just get home and all you want to do is cry because you’re so frustrated, but it’s worth it because there’s so many moments that you have as a teacher when it’s so rewarding […] And I guess at the end of the day, that’s really what you have to focus on is the positive, and know that not every day is going to be good, but it’s definitely worth it.

“There’s so many moments that you have as a teacher when it’s so rewarding.”

L: Can you tell me what a typical work day would be for you as a teacher?

M: Well I personally like to get to work at least an hour early. If not, I just feel too rushed and it’s difficult because you can’t push it off. It’s not like other careers where you can start 5-10 minutes late, when the bell rings you need to be ready to go so definitely get there an hour early, so that way you can do any corrections, just get into the right mindset […] I image5always have homeroom first thing at 9:10 in the morning and they’re a very energetic group of grade sevens. […] The basic day is just, you have your kids come in for two periods in the morning […] then you have recess, and for my recesses, I always have students scheduled to come in and talk. I think since I’m so young, they see me as being approachable and look at me like a big sister, so I have students who come to me to tell me their troubles, some are a lot harder than others […] My lunches are the same, I eat lunch a lot with my kids just because there’s always at least two kids who are coming to me who need to speak about something, and sometimes all they need is to feel that they have someone whose listening because high school is a really hard time for a lot of kids […] It was a big eye opener to see how hard it is for some of these kids.

Megan’s career advice to our viewers:

“I think the biggest career advice, or it’s more life advice in general, is perspective is everything. It’s all about how you look at a situation, so it may be really hard the things that you have to do, but you have to look at it from the other side so you know, you’re lucky – you get to have a class, you get to teach kids, you get to have this impact on the kids because sometimes just the smallest thing will stick with a student forever – but life’s hard and you’re going to be stuck dealing with all of these difficult things that there’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself for, but as long as you have that positive perspective, you’ll be just fine.” 

L: You graduated last year and have been working for just about a year – where do you see yourself in the future in terms of your career goals?

M: I love elementary school and I really enjoy when I get to teach it, but my heart is really at high school.  I love that I would get to teach my specialties instead of just being a generalist and doing it all – not that there’s anything wrong with it, but if I had it my way, I would just be teaching drama and art, maybe a couple English classes and getting to do the musical with them […] In five to ten years, if I had it my way I would be the director or assistant director to the school musical […] and to, as a teacher, be able to partake and even lead some of these clubs, I think that would be incredibly rewarding because teaching is not a 9 to 5 job by any means […] it’s hard, but that’s why you get into teaching, it’s a real love and a passion for it.

“That’s why you get into teaching, it’s a real love and a passion for it.

Interested in a program or career in Education?

Visit the Government of Canada Job Bank website for more information on what recent graduates across Canada are doing with their degrees.

Here are some quick stats (2011-2013) from their website:

  • 90.38% of recent Education graduates are employed
  • Earning range is between $39,651 – $69,171 with $53,711 being the median
  • Northeast Ontario is the top-paying location in Canada
  • 76.66% of recent graduates are in jobs that are closely related to their field of study
  • 46.83% of recent graduates are employed as elementary school and kindergarten teachers
  • 82.76% would choose this field again

Food for thought:

What I really took away from my conversation with Megan is to find what you love and are truly passionate about – and go after it.  It may not come easy and you may have some up’s and down’s along the way, but it’s important to always look at life and more specifically, your school-to-work journey, with a positive outlook and perspective.  You may need to step out of your comfort zone, accept that some of the best lessons you can learn are by making mistakes, and try to create opportunities of your own instead of just waiting for something to happen.  The reality is you may not land your dream job right out of school – like Megan, you may need to work on a few contracts and slowly build your way up to where you’d ideally like to be – but look at each opportunity as a step forward towards your eventual goal and a chance to further develop your experience and expertise in an area that motivates you and excites you.

Megan and Lindsay

A very big thank you to Megan for sharing her story with us!

Interested in getting involved in this project?

We’d love to hear from other students or graduates who have something to say about their education and career experiences.

Write to to get in touch.

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