Professional Development Program
Have you ever thought about starting a new career before dismissing the idea? Think again, says Glenn Ross.
After finishing a master’s degree in architecture, Glenn Ross spent 15 years growing his furniture design company. Though his work received much acclaim, the avid designer says he started to question its impact.
“I was making these beautiful objects for people, but I was also searching for meaning," says Glenn. "I wanted to be doing something with more of a social agenda."
A devoted father, Glenn had spent many years volunteering at his children’s school. He also became a coach with Odyssey of the Mind — a global, creative problem-solving contest.
“I brought Odyssey of the Mind to my daughter’s school and it was a lot of fun,” he remembers. “We ended up competing at the world finals.”
While Glenn admits his passion for teaching and working with children was undeniable, he was still not convinced to switch careers. That was, until he met his daughter's teacher.
"That was the real clincher for me," says Glenn. "I was talking to him one day and he told me that he had started teaching in his 50s. Suddenly, I had this idea!"
Even though he had previously studied at UBC, Glenn says he did not hesitate to apply to SFU’s Professional Development Program (PDP) to get his teaching certificate.
“Living in Coquitlam, SFU was convenient. But more than that, I felt the PDP had a better reputation.”
Glenn successfully applied and was admitted to the fall 2018 intake — the first cohort to experience the re-vamped 16-month structure. Undeterred, Glenn welcomed the changes.
“I came into the program as a mature student with degrees in archaeology, architecture and 15 years as a designer.” He adds “I loved that they modernized the program. I thought the new semester was a great introduction and a great way to bring us all up to the same level.”
Now entering his second year of teaching, Glenn says his first year has been challenging, but he is exactly where he wants to be.
“After finishing the program, I started teaching science and math and I am not strong in these areas," Glenn admits. “The PDP gave me the skills to deal with these situations. I needed to get comfortable teaching lots of different things and it has actually been quite fun."
“I am currently teaching photography and I love it so much. My heart is in design and I have lots of students who need the personalized support that I can provide. It is a very positive environment.”
When asked about his favourite part of the program, Glenn says it was the day he had an epiphany.
“I am a naturally shy and introverted person and the program changed that about me,” says Glenn.
“In the last semester, I had to perform a skit in front of a class. Normally this would terrify me, but I was not nervous. I realized I was not shy anymore. It was a big fundamental shift in who I am.”
Still thinking about a career change? Applications for the PDP’s fall 2022 intake open on October 1, 2021. Visit the website for more information.