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Undergraduate Students - November 2010

The full version of the November CAPSScoop can be found by clicking here.


Articles in this edition

Reflections from a Teach For India Fellow

Labour Market Information


Reflections from a Teach For India Fellow

by Arhan Bezbora, B.Sc. (Physics) McGill 10', Teach for India Cohort 2010

The early morning sun peeks out from under the clouds, bathing my classroom in a warm and cheerful light. “My classroom”, I smile inwardly. This has an amusing, almost surreal ring to it. I look up at the sea of kids, my kids, all bent over their mid-year exams. One of them, Harsh, squints up at me, the sunlight directly in his eyes. I place myself between him and the sun, casting a dark shadow over his tiny desk. He flashes me a wide toothy grin and then returns to his exam with furrowed brow. The exam is in English, one among the many barriers he faces, but his smile transcends them all.

As I look back at the last 4 months, I realize just how extraordinary life after McGill has been; a whirl of sights and colors, lesson plans and assessments, wide eyed children and even wider eyed adults…

It all began at Institute, Teach For India’s residential summer training program, where some of the most intelligent and dedicated individuals from across India and the world gathered for five of the most intense and exhausting weeks of their lives. The endless trainings, debriefs, group activities, reflections and tours in the field at summer school were all designed with one purpose in mind: to prepare us for the rigors of life as full-time teachers in some of the most under-resourced schools in the poorest areas of Mumbai and Pune (and New Delhi next year). The message was clear. To achieve the dramatic academic gains necessary to give these children a fighting chance, we would have to lead from the front. To bridge the achievement gap, we would have to transform our classrooms and ourselves.

The frenzy of Institute soon gave way to the hustle and bustle of daily life as we settled into our placement schools where we would be for the next two years. I was assigned to a 3rd grade classroom in a municipal school in Pune with 38 children, that is 38 balls of energy ready to explode. What followed was a series of small everyday failures and successes as my kids and I tried to make sense of each other. Initially it was tough. Academic goals, behavioral plans, classroom rules, procedures, incentives, parent investment, curriculum for five subjects, there was so much to think about and plan for. Progress was painfully slow. I tried new things and when they failed, I tried some more. Little by little, we crawled forwards. Now as I gaze out at the class, a very different sight greets my eyes. Children are seated in their places, they are much more responsive and they seem to be enjoying themselves. We have come a long way but there is so much more left to be done.

If you can read the words on this page, you are in good company: 40% of India is illiterate. If you have completed your schooling, you should consider yourself fortunate: one in three children who begin primary school will drop out before the fifth grade. The numbers are cold, representing a harsh and unforgiving truth. Yet, my reasons for embarking on this journey were more personal. All my life I had ambled through a “good education” without knowing what that really meant. What does an excellent education look like? What is its purpose? The answer came in the form of a teenage girl from the slums of Mumbai who had been inspired by some wonderful teachers to reach beyond her limits. “To be educated is to be liberated” she said, “to be freed from oneself, one’s own impulses, and to be freed from others, from depending on them”. India has 400 million children below the age of 18. Half of them are not in school. The potential is staggering. We have no excuses.

The time is now for us to wake up to these numbers and tip them in the right direction. The place is here for us to do what it takes to ‘Be the Change’. We need your creativity, your drive, and your passion to make our movement stronger so that one day ALL children in India will attain an excellent education.

As I finish, Harsh trudges up to the front, paper in hand. Dejected, he lays it on my desk. “Very hard Bhaiya”. “Yes Harsh, it is. But together we will do it”.

I invite you to join our movement. You can find more information about the fellowship at www.teachforindia.org or can contact one of our campus ambassadors, Ankita (ankita [dot] rao [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca) and Kunal (kunal [dot] shah [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca).

Labour Market Information

by Lisa Lin, CaPS Career Resource Consultant

This monthly bulletin aims to inform you of major news and trends in the Québec, Canada and U.S. labour markets. Your feedback is welcome caps [dot] library [at] mcgill [dot] ca.

In this issue

  • Quebec outperformed the rest of Canada in the national job market
  • Slow U.S. economic recovery holds back the Canadian job market
  • Older workers land jobs easily as they are more experienced and less costly to hire
  • Occupational highlight: Social workers
  • And more!

The good news

Government of Canada Launches New Program to Help Graduates Start Innovative Businesses
Canada New Centre, 13 October 2010
The government of Canada launches a new business initiative to help recent graduates in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields to build entrepreneurial skills.

National job market cools, but Quebec's heats up
Montreal Gazette, 09 October 2010
While employment elsewhere in Canada contracted, around 15,000 jobs were created in Quebec in September.

Toronto least risky city for employers, report says
Montreal Gazette, 28 September 2010
According to a study, Toronto is the least risky city in the world to recruit, employ and relocate employees.


The bad news

13 000 emplois perdus en un mois à Montréal
La Presse Affaires, 13 October 2010
After a year of growth in the labor market in Montreal, approximately 13,000 jobs are lost in the city between August and September.

B.C. unemployment rate up over last month
The Province, 10 October 2010
B.C.'s jobless rate rose to 7.5 per cent last month from 7.3 per cent in August as the province lost 300 jobs in the midst of a rise in the number of job-seekers.

U.S. loses 95,000 jobs
Globe and Mail, 08 October 2010
A wave of government layoffs in September outpaced weak hiring in the private sector, pushing down the nation's payrolls by a net total of 95,000 jobs.

Canadian job market will get worse: TD
Financial Post, 05 October 2010
According to a jobs report from TD Economics, Canada's job market will get gloomier before it gets better, with job creation expected to be cut in half in 2011.


Other news

Calgary's job growth stalling amid uncertainty
Calgary Herald, 09 October 2010
Across Alberta, employment increased by 300 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped from 6.5 percent in August to 6.2 percent in September.

Experience trumps age in Canadian job market
Globe and Mail, 08 October 2010
Older workers are landing jobs at a furious rate as they have become more willing to take a pay cut, making their cost more comparable to someone with less experience.

Jobs bounce clouds worrying trends
Globe and Mail, 17 September 2010
Despite that jobs lost in the recession have now been recouped, a closer look at Statistics Canada data shows that the quality of the labour market has deteriorated by many measures.

Statistics Canada - Employment patterns of postsecondary students
Employment patterns for postsecondary students who work during the school year changed significantly during the recent economic downturn.

Statistics Canada - Labour Force Survey
September 2010
Little change in employment in September, as full-time gains were offset by part-time losses. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to 8.0%, as fewer people, particularly youth, participated in the labour market.

Statistics Canada - Payroll employment, earnings and hours
July 2010 (preliminary)
Between July 2009 and July 2010, the average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees rose 3.9% to $855.66. This was the fastest year-over-year increase since February 2008.


Occupational highlight

Social Workers (NOC code 4152)
Social workers help individuals, couples, families, groups, communities and organizations develop the skills and resources they need to enhance social functioning and provide counselling, therapy and referral to other supportive social services. Social workers also respond to other social needs such as unemployment, racism and poverty.

Job prospects in this occupation are good. More than half of the job openings will result from retirements, and the rest will come from very strong annual growth in employment. These openings will be accessible primarily to graduates of university programs in social services and social work, but also to community and social service workers who meet the requirements of the occupation.

For a complete profile of this and other occupations, visit Career Cruising http://www.careercruising.com/Default.aspx. Contact us at caps [dot] library [at] mcgill [dot] ca for the username and password or login to myFuture https://csm-caps.mcgill.ca/students/ and search for Career Cruising under Documents - Career Resources.


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