Glenda on Orientation day 2016Glenda Pinault is not a crier, despite photographic evidence to the contrary. The recent B.Ed. graduate insists that the moment, captured so beautifully, was uncharacteristic. However, in telling the story of how she came to be on that stage, a theme of tears quietly emerges.

From EA to Mature Student

Although she had always wanted to become a teacher, Glenda spent 15 years working as an EA. When she graduated high school she didn’t believe she was capable of the education needed to get a teaching degree so she went to school to become an ECE. She was happy in her role and felt like she was where she needed to be at that point in her life. She had kids, worked hard and embraced her time with students.

One morning she woke up and decided she wanted more – for herself, her family and her students. She wanted to share the special bond with her students that only a teacher can have. She applied as a mature student to complete a BA in Sociology at Trent with the intention of eventually getting her B.Ed.

It Takes a Village

She completed her BA while still working at St. Peter’s in Trenton and raising two kids as a single parent. Most of her classes were in Oshawa and the commute could be harrowing. Luckily, Glenda is surrounded by a wonderful group of family and friends who stepped up to help make everything go smoothly at home so she could focus on her studies.

When the time came, she applied to Queen’s Faculty of Education and hoped for the best. The day she received her acceptance to Queen’s, she was overcome. With tears in her eyes she went through the halls of St. Peter’s, classroom to classroom, announcing her news. The whole school was thrilled for her.

Life-changing Lessons

Glenda during Convocation 2019Heading into the B.Ed. program, Glenda was confident. She figured she had 15 years of practicum experience and she could come to Queen’s, do her time, and receive a degree with ease. Such was not the case. The coursework left her mentally exhausted and the commute to and from Trenton was physically tiring.

But she loved it. She was learning more than she ever thought she could and was forever changed by the lessons, both formal and informal, that occurred at Duncan McArthur Hall. She remembers tearing up (again) as she sat in Lynda Colgan’s class and was shown, precisely and with great care, how to better teach math. The method was completely different from the way she had been taught as a child and she wept for the way it could have changed her relationship with the subject, and with school work in general.

Full Support From the Faculty

Two days before her September start a serious family issue caused her miss her entire first week of classes. Trying to keep her personal life together while managing her coursework was almost too much for her to handle and she once again found herself in tears. But the encouragement she received from faculty was incredible. Her professors, in particular Jane Chin and Holly Ogden, spoke to her like a peer and were nothing short of accommodating and thoughtful in helping her navigate the challenges. They listened to her and respected her experience and opinions. She felt fully supported.

A Teacher at Last

This is why, as she stood on the stage in Grant Hall, she found herself once again wiping tears from her eyes. In this moment she remembered every long drive, every late night, all the great people she had met, all the hard work she had done and all the support she had received. Glenda had to go through a lot to get to this moment, and now she feels she has finally become who she needs to be: a teacher.

Since interviewing for this article, Glenda suffered from a debilitating stroke. Her family and friends have set up a GoFundMe to help support her during this time. If you are interested in making a donation, please (see the GoFundMe page here).

We wish Glenda the best in her recovery.

Article Category