The Importance of Confidence, or The Barriers Without It

I always thought the process of getting a job was simple and straightforward: you go to school, you learn a bunch of things you need to know, and you’ll be ready to be thrown into the workforce (or at least ready enough).

These past few months have been sobering for me in realizing that this belief is very far from the actual truth. In reality, no amount of education can completely and entirely prepare you for the real world.

Source: ELearningIndustry.com

Don’t get me wrong: school does teach you what you need to know (usually) and prepares you as best it can in a very comforting environment. As a language teacher, my job is to help students use English in the outside world. As a teacher, my job is to teach speaking, writing, reading and listening skills, as well as strengthen them and tailor them for the modern Torontonian society (whose language is CONSTANTLY changing. Seriously. What is ‘the 6’?)

But I’ve come to this realization that I can only prepare my students, just like school can only prepare me. Everything else comes down to how confident I am in my skills, and same goes with using a language.

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Looking at North Korean and American Tensions

One of the biggest changes since Barack Obama left office is the drastic increases in tension between the United States and North Korea. Even Donald Trump has finally understood how utterly complicated the entire North Korea affair is. 

Now, ever since I’ve taken a little step away from commenting on politics, I’ve had to devise easier ways to understand global politics. I’ve come up with a crazy theory, which I’m sure most of you are going to think is absolutely nuts. But here it is:

If you examine the political affairs between global politicians as you would a classroom of elementary-grade schoolers, everything slowly begins to make a lot of sense. 

Donald Trump is the new kid at school, and already thinks he owns everything in the classroom. Nobody knows if he actually likes the class president Angela, and he seems to be hanging out a lot with that kid Vlad. 

Anyways there’s a kid who always sits in the back named Kim, and is kind of troubled. A lot of the other kids stay away from him, and some of the people who sit next to him complain about how he keeps trying to hit them. 

All of a sudden, Donny calls Kim out and Kim is all mad. Donny is also telling Kim’s desk-neighbours to handle the problem, but they all kind of know that Donny is kind of new and this whole Kim thing is actually more complicated than it sounds. 

Donny continues to push Kim, and Donny’s parents, who are constantly protesting his actions though have absolutely no control over their child, are increasingly worried that Kim might finally just hurt Donny. 

All the while, the other students are kind of just watching all of this. Some students have decided to join in, to a very limited extent, while others are kind of just not saying anything. 

Theresa is actually really upset with her geography teacher Mr. Juncker, and is asking to be removed from his class. People are worried about sharing a table with Vlad, since he’s known for taking over others’ space with his binders and notebooks. 

You know what, maybe politics isn’t that simple… 

The Most Important Difference Between (Private) Colleges and Universities

I haven’t ever done a post like this, where I talk about and critique the education system in some way. Well I’m doing that now.

And just on a side note, I think it’s important to discuss and comment on the education system. Not only is it a fundamental system, but it is possibly the most important part of a person’s development.

Recently I have been studying for my TESL Ontario certification (for those of you who don’t know what the TESL is, it is a certification to be able to teach English as a second language). In the second semester of my course, we’ve focused on many different aspects of teaching.

One of these aspects is linguistics.

This was interesting for me especially since I’ve studied linguistics before in my university career. A lot of the information we touched upon was information I had previously studied, so this was kind of a review for me.

Or so I thought.

I think what I learned from studying linguistics was the important difference in learning when it comes to a smaller and more tactile setting, like the one we see in private and public colleges, compared to learning in a bigger setting with a more theoretical and less practical approach, like the one you’d see in university.

So how does that affect what you’re learning?

University puts a focus on theory, teaching you mostly everything there is to know on a certain topic. A lot of this is to present ideas to students for them to critically challenge them. This is one of the great things about many programs at universities: students are given theories and are allowed to disagree with them, provided they are able to balance it with fact. It is a great skill to have.

But that’s also where the problem lies.

Looking back at my notes for my university linguistics class, a lot of the information given was not entirely needed and actually made the material a lot more confusing. That is essentially the thing with university education: the material you learn isn’t for a specific practical value, but rather for dissection and discussion. I wasn’t learning linguistics for a certain actionable purpose, or at least it didn’t feel that way.

Now before I keep going, a lot of programs are not like this. Some of them are practical.

Now comes the private college. I’ve been studying to get my TESL certification, and one part of the program is two separate linguistics modules: phonology and general linguistics (which actually includes a lot).

The module taught the same, or similar, information, but there was a huge difference: each module was taught for a specific purpose, and it was entirely transparent as to what I was to do with the information. When it came to phonology, it was to improve pronunciation for L2 learners. When it came to syntax and historical linguistics, it was for teachers to get a background knowledge when it comes to teaching. The teaching of these modules had a focus.

Now I realize that comparing an introduction course in university to a specialized course in private college isn’t the best comparison, but it is just to point out a similarity that I’ve experienced. The reality is that I, amongst other students, left university feeling as if they have no practical knowledge or actionable skills. A communications major can go into journalism, but the program didn’t make me a good journalist. A course on documentaries was to dissect it, not on how to become a documentarian.

The reason why I write this is because the stigma that colleges face has no real reason to exist. As much as we pretend there is a hierarchy in terms of post-secondary education, there really shouldn’t be. I, as a university graduate, am absolutely not smarter than a college graduate. As a matter of fact, the lack of experience that a college student might have received in a practicum, a placement or a co-op leaves them in a better direction than I am. Yet, with all this, those who go to colleges are unfairly looked down upon and are thought to be inferior.

At the end of the day, I just paid a lot for a piece of paper that tells me I learned a lot. However, I had to go to a private college to fill a void that my university truly couldn’t accomplish.

And that’s it! I’d love to hear your thoughts as to whether you agree or disagree with me, or even if you have any questions! Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

Writing Update – Featured in an App!!

Hello everyone,

It has been a while since I’ve given any updates on my writing. I’ll just cut right to the chase.

In early 2017, I was contracted to write stories for a company called Happy Square Studios, an amazing Toronto-based company that develops apps. It was a short period, but we created some amazing and beautiful stories.

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Let It Go – Chapter One

The following is the first chapter of a story, one that I will continuously add to every now and then. It is not real and hasn’t been properly thought out. I write this as I go along. I literally have no idea where any of this is going. – MM

***

It was raining, and I could hear the drops hit the window of our hotel. It was an unfamiliar place, even though it was the end of our journey. This hotel was conveniently located near the airport, making a mid-night flight a lot easier. I vowed to myself to stay awake, as I would prefer to sleep on the plane. Though whether that occurs seems to be up to chance.

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Surface-Level Politics – A Minor Analysis of Yesterday’s Debate

There are so many things that you can nit-pick and focus on in last nights debate, where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump squared off in a response-long and answer-less debate. This was also the first opportunity for Americans (and people around the world) to see what Donald Trump is like in a formal and respected forum like the Presidential debate. And even though I was live-tweeting most of it, most of my tweets happen to be jokes about what was being said instead of any actual policy debate.

STEVE POPE/Getty

This is what I want to focus on. Donald Trump said something which raised a huge red flag for most people. And that was this:

“She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina, I said she doesn’t have the stamina, and I don’t believe she does have the stamina” – Donald Trump, Presidential Candidate

Stamina? If stamina is a criteria, you might as well hire The Rock or Seth Rollins or even Rusev (I mean he was WWE United States Champion before last weekend, amirite?)

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Opposition and Backlash – On the Criticisms of Noor Tagouri’s Playboy Piece

There is so many incidents where the online world of social media is in backlash over a certain statement, a certain decision, or anything of the sort. Especially when it comes to decisions that interfere with common religious thought, this opposition can be vocal.

And that’s totally okay. You’re allowed to be against what a certain person does, just as that person is allowed to partake in that decision (of course, as long as it’s not a decision which will change the way you practice your religion or anything else).

And this brings me right to my topic. Noor Tagouri recently was featured in Playboy (which, to clarify, ended its full frontal nudity in March 2016) as part of their ‘Renegades section’, which, as they write, will highlight this:

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