At the end of the semester, Education Assistant (EA) students in their final practicum write a final journal reflection on the EA program, their learning, and advice for new EA students. Education Assistant faculty took the powerful words and phrases from these journals to create a ‘found poem’. This poem is sent to EA graduates in their final course announcements.
This is the Found Poem from our 2023 EA graduates:
Soak it all in.
Focus on your why, your purpose, your reason.
Come back to this often.
Learn about strength-based perspective, people first language, and shift your approach to curiosity.
The words that we use need to emphasize individuality, equality, and dignity of all people with diverse abilities.
It does not matter who we are or what we think we know.
Live life objectively, although it’s difficult, it is a great way to live.
Belief, self-management, perseverance, patience, and kindness are the keys to success.
Leave your self-doubt at the door, because, though the road may be hard, you can do this.
The work you do will change the life course for many students.
You hold great power as an EA – use it to create change in the world.
You need to connect with your students before you can help them.
It is your job to be compassionate, curious, attentive and caring.
Start with Maslow’s Hierarchy, especially if you grew up with the privilege of not having to think about things like a stable place to sleep or not having food.
Act with curiosity. This leads to treating students with more patience, compassion, openness, and empathy.
Remember, what works in one moment may not work again.
Students love to keep us on our toes.
Have a toolkit filled with strategies, ready to use.
Students cannot regulate until they have been dysregulated. Help them. Show them.
Be a strong role model.
Use the hand model of the brain to explain to kids what happens when they are unable to access their fore-brain.
Believe that ALL students can learn, but they cannot all learn the same way or in the same time frame.
Do not take things personally.
Behaviour is communication,
And we only see the tip of the iceberg.
You can achieve success if you are willing to put in the work!
You are not alone in this journey.
Never sit in uncertainty. Ask questions!
But remember, sometimes it is necessary to leave your comfort zones, and this is when the greatest growth can happen.
You will settle in but until then, breathe and remind yourself that you will be okay.
We are built to do hard things, together.
Self-care is everything; schedule it in!
Celebrate all the little victories along the way.
Give yourself space and grace.
Practice deep breathing.
And hold onto your textbooks to refer back to throughout your career!