Education Assistants (EAs) make a difference. They work with students who require additional support with special needs, behaviours, ELL (English Language Learning), and academics. Typically, EAs work in a classroom setting and are one-on-one with a child. However, EAs are not limited to the classroom. Graduates of Stenberg College’s Education Assistant program are prepared for employment in public schools, private schools, after-school programs, childcare centres, community or youth drop-in centres, residential settings, parks and recreation programs, and other services where educational programming is offered. Additionally, many of our grads support adults with disabilities.
An unforgettable moment
Kerry Ogilvy is an Education Assistant and a Stenberg grad who feels lucky to work with children with exceptionalities. As she puts it, “It’s a privilege to work with these children. You make a difference in the life of a child. I love it.”
A moment that stands out in her memory was Kerry’s first long-term placement where she supported a young girl with selective mutism. “She doesn’t speak at school, not a word.”
Kerry started spending her lunch break with this student and fondly recalls, “She came one Wednesday and was beaming! She had brand new Disney Princess lunch containers and wanted me to name the princesses. She pointed at the first one and I excitedly said, ‘Yes, that’s Ariel! Don’t you love Ariel?’” Kerry’s little friend nodded and smiled and pointed at the next princess. Kerry happily affirmed, “Yes, that’s Belle. Isn’t Beauty and the Beast a great movie?” It went on like this. But when Kerry’s student pointed to the last princess, Kerry drew a blank.
Kerry apologized profusely, unable to recall the name. When sharing this story, it’s clear how much it means to Kerry. She pauses, remembering the next life-changing moment, “In this tiny voice, my student whispered, ‘Rapunzel.’ That was the first word she spoke at school. She trusted me enough to say that word, her first word at school, and it was Rapunzel.”
Today, one of Kerry’s most prized possessions is Mrs. O’s Princess Book. It’s a paper booklet handmade for her by this student, who never wanted Mrs. O to forget princess names again. The little girl stayed inside every day at lunch for a week to make the booklet. “This was her handiwork. Ariel. Belle. Tiana. And most important of all, Rapunzel. I’ll never forget her name again.”
Moments that matter
If you’re moved by this story and Kerry’s experience, consider the career of an Education Assistant and fill your life with moments that matter. To read more about the career, click here.