When it comes to teaching, Glen Sharpe takes his job as an educator seriously. Sharpe was born in Toronto, but moved to Brenton when he was young and spent time in the summer in his reserve in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.
Sharpe completed high school and started his post-secondary journey at Sheridan College. Afterwards, he applied and got into York University and completed four years there.
Sharpe then went on to get his Bachelor’s in Education, his Master’s degree, then eventually his PhD work — but says the process for each of these was filled with a pattern of apply to get in, get rejected, and getting in the second attempt.
“I call myself a very successful person who wasn’t initially successful. And those are some of the obstacles that I’ve encountered and just try to persevere through all of it,” said Sharpe.
When he didn’t get into his Bachelor’s program initially, he called and asked what he can do to get into the program and was told he would need more experience.
So Sharpe applied for a teaching assistant and got it, eventually going to Lakehead University instead of York where his experience came in handy.
“I had that base of experience branching off into the classroom before a lot of my cohorts didn’t have any experience, I had that one year as a teaching assistant under my belt, which was invaluable for me,” said Sharpe.
But before he went into teaching and even before going to Sheridan, Sharpe says he didn’t really know what to do but what steered him towards teaching was when he was working in hockey school as an instructor.
He says working with the kids and having him respond with them and them responding back with him gave him the mindset of “I can do this.”
Sharpe has had a very successful career, but has been through other obstacles on his path including the negative self-talk about his worth.
“I think we all go through that negative self talk, but if you can reverse that and look at an obstacle or a setback as a growth opportunity. That’s the way I try to shape my mind set,” said Sharpe.
“Failure is a good thing. You don’t even want to use the word failure, but if you want to use the word obstacle or lack of success. It’s a good thing to embrace and try to learn and grow into that position if you can.”
And for students leaving their home for the first time to pursuit a career or post-secondary, Sharpe acknowledges it’s frightening to do so and is also intimidating.
“I’ve said to all of my students before, it is difficult to make that change. It always has and I’m in my mid fifties now and a move and a change to a new position is going to be hard. So just realize that and try not to rail against it,” said Sharpe.
He recommends getting involved and getting to know people, and to try to “put some of your discomfort aside” to make those social connections to ease the transition.
“It’s the best way to do it. Isolating yourself is not going to help. You just have to go to out of your comfort zone and try to make meaningful connections to ease that transition.”
Special thanks to Jasmine Kabatay for authoring this blog post.
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Funding is generously provided by the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch, and the Government of Canada's Supports for Student Learning program.