Getting to Know Grand Erie is a new weekly feature that puts the spotlight on one of the many Grand Erie staff members working towards the goal of Success for Every Student. The Q&A series brings the staff member into focus by sharing – in their own words – the lessons they’ve learned in leadership, teamwork, and perseverance. Do you know someone who should be featured? Let us know!
Educational Assistant, McKinnon Park Secondary School
What’s the best part of your job?
Well, sorry, co-workers, but I have to say it is the students! Getting to know them, their strengths, weaknesses and interests; finding out what they need; learning how I can help them and how they can teach me to become a better person is the best part of my job. I really enjoy getting to know the person they are and who they want to become.’
What was your first job, and what did it teach you?
My first job… well, that was awhile ago! It was at Cayuga Dragway Park (now known as Toronto Motorsports Park) in Kohler. I worked there for a number of years and in a variety of roles. It taught me to put my all into the work. Although hard work can be tough, it is also rewarding. I remember every day there being fun! Interestingly enough, I returned as an adult approximately 20 years later to work again. I guess I really did enjoy it.
What motivates you?
This is simple: Making someone else’s life better. Whether it be for the long-term or even for just the day. If you can do something – even the smallest of things – to improve things for someone else, you have accomplished something important.
What’s your favourite thing about working in Grand Erie?
That Grand Erie is a family. Regardless of its geographical size, we are definitely one giant family.
How does your role contribute to Success for Every Student?
As an Educational Assistant, I think we have an advantage of working closely with students, often being given the opportunity to work one-on-one. We are afforded time and opportunity to explain tasks in a way that can be understood for that individual, adapting to the different learning styles of the student.
What’s a skill or talent you possess that might surprise people?
Surprisingly enough, I can actually win the “quiet game.” Sometimes, at least. And even though I can be found most often in a crowd and involved in busy activities, I do enjoy quiet alone time.
Best advice you received?
This isn’t exactly advice, but something a wonderful person wrote to me: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Isn’t that just a lovely motto to live by?
Best advice you have given?
Relax. Do what you can, and do your best. I always encourage students to do their best. Regardless of the result, putting effort into their work is what counts. That, and being acknowledged for the accomplishment.
What’s been your most important lesson learned during the pandemic?
Again, relax. Be smart. Be safe. Wearing masks, washing hands and keeping distance is key. We will get through this. I feel that the world and the people in it will be better for having adapted to life in a pandemic.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Spend time with my family and friends. I love to golf and relax at my trailer.