Derrick M., Special Education Teaching Assistant

What were you doing before coming to Sprott Shaw College?

Well honestly before I decided where I was going to go I was selling cars and I wasn’t doing the best job at it. I did as well as I thought I could do but my boss just said I’m not doing the best that you can do we think you can do something better somewhere else you seem to be too helpful and too uplifting and too bubbly and too perky and I’m like okay… Fair enough.
Then I ran into a little bad luck and had a back surgery and then trying to figure out what to do while I was my back try to figure out where I want to go with my career, what I wanted to do with my life I decided to do Sprott Shaw and become a Special Education Teaching Assistant so retrospect I was just selling cars to figure out what to do with my life and that’s where I was at.

Why did you choose Sprott Shaw College?

For my family purposes, I chose Sprott Shaw because it was more conducive to family life and be more I hate to say beneficial but it benefited my family to have Sprott Shaw in my corner for this big event. It was close for me to drive, lots of support at the Campus. My wife and my 2 kids I could help them in the morning and get them ready to go to school and also help when the classes shift and I can actually make it home and help out with the night routine as well all in all a big huge benefit for my family.

How was the admissions process?

The admissions process… easy. I wish there was something else to describe it but man it was easy you come in and they show you around and so eager to help and their enthusiasm was contagious and every (i) that was dotted was dotted with a heart or a smiley face it was just one of those moments where it was like this is cool… excitable.

What program did you choose and why?

Well I chose the Special Education Teaching Assistant which is a mouthful but for what I have been dealing with at home it made the most sense for me. I have 2 autistic children at home so I have spent the last 10 or so years learning how to deal with my children and so I felt that it would benefit me to go into that career path and help those kids that don’t have the support and the pathways that I have already forged through so my kids they helped guide me down that path I have seen these experiences before and I could actually help out little kids and give a little bit of my expertise towards that situation it’s something I’m comfortable with it’s something I support and it’s something I really truly believe in.

Where was your Practicum and how was it?

My Elementary School practicum was in Chilliwack. This is one of the cool things about why I chose this practicum is when I moved to Chilliwack I chose the practicum where I started my education. I started my education at Strathcona Elementary on Fairfeld Island and I finished just now with this practicum for elementary school at Strathcona Elementary there were a few teachers that were still there from when I went there that recognized me and they asked me the same question why did you come back and I said well I started my education here so I’d like to finish on a positive note by having my education finish here and they were like “AH WOW” it was a really good experience and it was just really bubbly and really smiles all around throughout the whole entire time.

What was the environment like during your time at Sprott Shaw College?

It was positive, it was really good. The teachers were great anytime I had a problem with anything they were open door policy and however wanted to help me student or peer wise totally put forth and extra hand as in here this is what this means and the same went around the other way if I had an experience with a certain situation I was able to tell them and the teachers and the staff and students were all eager to learn and hear what I had to say and share, it was a positive experience front to back.

How long did it take you to find a job after graduation?

Well I was sick for the first month of being off school so I couldn’t go out there and forge and find my path but after being sick, 1 month after so as soon as I graduated and finished everything in January, sick for January and February at the end of March is when I got hired on.

Where do you work? And can you explain your duties?

I work for School District 42 and that’s Maple Ridge and my job varies on the school I go to who I’m required to help be a teacher or one on one support or even classroom support depending on who I’m covering for that day so if I’m going to be covering an individual that a one on one basis I would spend the first maybe hour just getting to know the child reading about who they are and what their needs are and I’ll facilitate their needs say a few jokes and make them smile build that rapport that I can only have limited amount of time maybe 5-6 hours for the day I have to make sure it’s “impactful” for the first little bit and that way he can believe me when I say hey lets go do this and then we will go play for 5 mins or lets go do some school work for 10 mins be it reading, writing, math whatever for 10 mins and then we will go outside and play for 10 mins and it’s just pretty much what the job is for me and I don’t really treat it as work mostly as a lot of fun for myself and the child because he works hard during the day and then he has a time to have a break from the regular teacher and have someone like me come in and do some work but also at the same time have fun because it’s hard to build a relationship and support and belief from a little child who needs to have that support, trust, belief in their regular person has to come in and how dare you try to get me to do English or how dare you try to do my least favorite job today is math you have to support a little bit when you can but mostly your trying to make a review of what they did yesterday I hope that kinda clarifies a little bit ya it’s a lot but to put it into a small little nutshell it’s a positive growth growing environment that your just there to support and make sure they are safe and taken care of and a little bit of learning is along the way.

If you could give advice to someone coming to Sprott Shaw what would you say?

Do it man, absolutely 100% I would get behind the school I would get behind the student the staff everybody support the person that’s coming in because Sprott Shaw is for me it has changed my life in nothing but the most positive way possible I was talking to my wife today and she says I’m so proud of you for getting this done I’m so proud of you for how hard you are working I’m so proud you haven’t given up where a person might have for the things we have gone through as a family but I 100% totally would sell this school to everybody because I do believe in it and I think it’s a great, great way to get ahead in the world and start finally making your mark where it needs to be put in a positive way.

Derek M.
Special Education Teaching Assistant
Abbotsford Campus

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