0 Houghton education student and Canada resident, Ethan McCarthy.

Teaching the Next Generation in Canada

May 23, 2024

Having grown up attending Catholic French immersion schools in Ontario, Canada, Ethan McCarthy ’25 knew he wanted a Christ-centered college education that allowed him to combine his love of French, history, and teaching. By pursuing a degree in Adolescent Education and History at Houghton, McCarthy is able to gain valuable classroom experience while earning his teaching certifications before his peers who attend university in Canada.

“It was a joke between teachers back home that you go down to Buffalo, get your teaching license in a year, and then come back to teach,” said McCarthy. “But I never really thought about it until I started looking at schools and saw that it was two years quicker.”

While the standard certification process in Canada requires aspiring teachers to have six years of higher education, Houghton’s education program fulfills the requirements set by the Ontario College of Teachers in only four years. Upon graduation, McCarthy will be qualified for his initial New York State teaching certification, meaning he only needs one additional course from the Ontario College of Teachers to be eligible to apply for Ontario certification. By attending Houghton, McCarthy can be certified to teach in Canada shortly after he graduates with his undergraduate degree.

But that is not the only reason McCarthy chose to attend Houghton.

“The environment here is something I can’t get back home. The experiences I’ve had, like the Buffalo experience, are going to stick with me for my entire life. It shows you a different part of the world, and that’s only going to help me when I’m going into a classroom.”


Opportunities like spending a Mayterm observing classrooms in the inner city of Buffalo offer students the chance to experience the ways urban and rural education differ. For McCarthy, this experience showed him how to create meaningful relationships with students who come from diverse backgrounds, and to teach a class as a whole while still prioritizing the needs of individual students. As a junior, McCarthy has also already taught in six classrooms, something he would not be able to do as an undergraduate student in Canada.

McCarthy’s passion for teaching the next generation of Canadian students is evident. When he graduates next year, he plans to return to Ontario to teach history, geography, and French at a Catholic Immersion school.

“It’s a way for me to give back to my community.”

Until then, he is focusing on gaining as much classroom experience as possible and is considering pursuing a master’s degree in education as well.