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Maria Colosimo in her new office in the faculty of education. She has returned to work as an academic advisor in the faculty after graduating with her B.Ed.

New academic advisor taking her B.Ed. skills beyond classroom

April 26, 2016 — 

Maria Colosimo was partway through the bachelor of education program when she realized that classroom teaching wasn’t for her.

“After I was done my first year, I didn’t think I would end up in the classroom.” As a senior years teacher candidate, Colosimo loved interacting with teens and preteens, but had also been working in the graduate studies office part-time during her undergraduate arts degree and while she was in the B.Ed. program, and found she enjoyed working with adult learners and mature students even more.

Colosimo is one of the dozens of Faculty of Education alumni who complete the program but do not go on to become K-12 teachers.

Instead, Colosimo has recently returned to the faculty to work as an academic advisor in the Student Services Office, after about eight years working in graduate studies.

Colosimo says she is happy to be back in her home faculty as an employee.

“I thought it was a really inviting and welcoming place and the Faculty of Education has an interest in lifelong learners…lots of people come back. There is a pride [here].”

She said because she had recently completed the program herself, she felt she might have something to give back to other students.

“I know a bit about the programs and I remember what the experiences were like so I thought, ‘Why not give it a shot?’”

Colosimo received her B.Ed. in May 2012 and, after doing some substitute teaching, was hired in the Faculty of Graduate studies—first to cover a maternity leave and then full-time, eventually managing a small team in the admissions department.

What she loved about it was it was a place she could really put her many skills to use. B.Ed. graduates can go on to work in areas such as curriculum development, non-profit organizations, school counselling, administration, university or college instruction, adult education or work with newcomers and refugees.

For Colosimo, working in grad studies was an extension of her education skills.

“I don’t think people on campus know about how many places are there to help them. I thought why not get into a faculty where I can take those skills I learned in education and use them with adult learners and mature students.”

She especially enjoyed the aspects of being able to meet with students one-on-one and being able to build relationships.

“I always missed the interaction with students [being out of the classroom].”

She also feels that in her previous grad studies position as well as in her current role, part of her duty is to let students know that there are advising offices across campus with staff who are there to assist students navigate issues that arise.

“I think it is good for students to know that just because Education is a little different from secondary or post-secondary school doesn’t mean there aren’t people to help—that’s what we are here for.”

Colosimo says she is settling in to her new job. She says she is especially enjoying being able to advise individual students.

“We have time in our schedules to meet students—we are encouraged to help them find out what their options are.”

For her, working on campus in the Faculty of Education is exactly where her B.Ed. degree was meant to take her.

“I like working here. I think everyone in the faculty has a really strong sense of community. Because everyone here is an educator or a previous educators they let you take the time to learn at your own pace.

“…I always wanted to be in a helping profession.”

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