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Archive for May 21st, 2020

A profound sense of sadness filled me as the conference ended.

Conferences are the Zoom meetings of my workday. Averaging almost an hour each, I sit and assist students through their schoolwork, their frustrations with technology (can I get an amen?!), hear about their future plans, their younger siblings, their lives.

Conferences have become the conduit of education in this season of Covid 19.

But this conference … this one was different.

Just a week ago I had been frustrated with online learning, the conferences, the hours beyond the timesheet and feeling the struggle of trying to assist students without the advantage of body and facial language to enlighten me where their words were not. I was just so done with it.

But as that week wore on, my attitude of frustration and negativity did too.

At the end of the week, wanting to update to my supervisor about the successes of a couple of students, I kept going. I listed each student and was able to put to words their strengths … either academic, personality or character. As I finished the email, I realized how truly blessed I am to be privileged to walk through this season of high school, of online schooling with them.

I get to be their peace in the pandemic storm, their sounding board, their cheerleader, advocate, prod and even their academic support (that’s what I actually get paid to do 😉 ). This position is a privilege and I had (for a moment) forgotten that fact.

Then, yesterday happened …

A student (who I have worked alongside of for three years) requested a conference to discuss his research paper. I had been assisting him with it since online schooling began in early April (weeks before it was assigned, as he was determined to do well on it) … almost daily. He wanted to share his final mark, what the teacher said. Then we discussed his future plans, teachers who had impacted him and I was able to encourage him that he would do just great, not just in school, but in relationships … for he does not allow his weaknesses and struggles to define him.

Eventually our conference ended … and the profound sadness fell on me …

for there will be no academic need of another conference, his biggest academic mountain has been climbed, he reached the summit and in a few weeks he will graduate … he no longer needs my (our) help … my job is done.

Once again, worked myself out of a job.

I am sad that our season has come to an end, but so proud of who he has become and how well he will do in his future.

And this is our job, as an educational assistant, to help them through their schooling struggles so that they can move on in independence and under their own strength.

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