Our graduatesJordan Denton, PGDE History, Canada
My name is Jordan Denton and I grew up in a VERY small town, North of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Sharon is a booming community with 1 elementary school, 1 grocery store and 1 arena, you know us Canadians and our hockey! After graduating from my high school in the next town over, I took a year off of school and spent a year travelling to and from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. There I volunteered in a youth centre, teaching at-risk youth English and various vocational skills. I fell in love with the kids there and strongly considered abandoning my plans of attending post-secondary school. After I reality-checked myself, I knew my place was working with kids and decided I wanted to be a high school teacher and that meant University first. I attended the University of Guelph where I studied History and Geography and four years later I graduated with my honours B.A.
In my final year of University I began exploring my options for teacher college, I started looking out of province and then out of Canada completely. Long story short, in August 2016 I left my tiny town and everything I’ve ever known for Glasgow where I attended the University of Strathclyde to obtain my PGDE. Ontario of course offers teacher college, a two year program in the same place I had always lived and been comfortable. However, I chose to complete my teacher training in Glasgow because I had just spent 4 years of my undergrad studying, researching, writing and dreaming about British and European history without really experiencing it. Strathclyde offered a one year program, still the same credentials and qualifications if I had attended in Ontario but one year shorter, more placement time spent in classrooms teaching and I got to live in Glasgow!
The time I spent in my two placement schools in Paisley and in the East End of Glasgow were invaluable to me and times that I will remember and genuinely cherish for the rest of my teaching career. Both of my mentors took the extra time to familiarize me with the Scottish curriculum and show me the ropes of high school in Scotland as the entire system was new to me. My history teacher at Strathclyde was absolutely amazing with welcoming me, helping me to adjust and supporting me in every way she could. My entire year at Strathclyde would not have been the same without the amazing friends I made, shout out to my fellow history gals and our dear friend Malone! I am thankful to have met such wonderful people that wouldn’t have happened had I not taken the leap and applied to Strathclyde.
When I moved home from Glasgow in 2017 I took my first teaching post at a private school in Toronto where I taught history, geography and English. I spent a year there and when the opportunity opened up to apply to the Public School Boards, I took it and in October 2018 I began working for two different school boards in Ontario. Today, I’m working as a supply teacher where I go to different schools and fill in for absent teachers. Supply teaching is awesome for right now as gives me the freedom to take more online courses to add to my teaching qualifications. I’ve taken a few Long-Term Occasional contracts, which are a month or two at a time and then when they come to an end I go back to my day-to-day supply teaching. I love the flexibility and freedom I have right now although I do miss my own classroom and the relationships I form with staff and students. In the next year or two I would like to have a contract position in one school with my own room and my own courses again. In the further future, after starting a family beyond fur-babies, I’d like to complete my masters and/or PhD in History and eventually become a professor. Honestly though, I wouldn’t be disappointed if I spent my entire career in the high school classroom, I truly think that’s where I’m meant to be and Strathclyde helped me get there.
My year in Glasgow went by fast but, time flies when you’re having fun and I am beyond grateful that I had the year there. Completing my PGDE in Glasgow gave me experience and confidence as a teacher that I do not know I would have acquired at a school in Ontario. The diversity of the schools I was teaching in and the vast differences in the education system compared to Ontario put me totally out of my comfort zone and for that I am lucky. Getting outside of what I was familiar with at the very beginning of my career completely prepared me for anything that comes my way in a classroom and taught me how to be flexible and roll with the punches.
Strathclyde was a life-changing experience that I would recommend to anyone who, like me, wanted to switch things up and take the chance on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Just do it now. Apply, book a flight, keep a journal, go into town, talk to strangers, eat weird food and just let yourself soak it all up.