With every sunrise, comes new opportunity, a fresh perspective, and the chance to try something different.
(Today I needed to remind myself of this.)
We all have high’s and lows in our day-to-day working lives–the roller coaster of an EA though, this is a whole new existence. When I entered into this world I figured there would be good and bad days, of course, but the extremes leave me speechless.
A bad day as an EA can hurt. Words filled with anger and pain are often hurled at us, occasionally the dreaded “I hate you;” or maybe they lash out physically, but still, we support them through it while avoiding their fists of fury or frenzied feet. Heartbreaking. Not for my own discomfort though, it’s seeing the pain in their eyes and imagining what they’re going through–they know their emotions have taken over, they’re out of control, and there’s nothing they can do about it. Helpless, innocent, yet burdened by life… Together we ride the coaster though, waiting for the ride to slow, awaiting that gasp of reprieve.
*Breathe* Lower the expectations, dial it back, seek out the connection.
I scramble, and offer the world to regain the calm: a break outside in the sunshine, perhaps a snack, a game, or maybe a beloved toy? I craft an individualized recipe to set up for success. For me personally though, after a storm, the library is my favourite place to regroup and find our connection again. A peaceful space blanketed by quiet, surrounded by stories that call to us, and finally, a much needed reading break. Or perhaps a puzzle?
I recall a time that puzzles were the ignition source for one of my students though–it couldn’t go on this way–so we needed to work through their difficult feelings of who gets to finish the puzzle. It needed to be done gently, one on one I decided, and off to the library we went, puzzle in hand–the final piece concealed in my pocket. As we worked closer I prepared myself, until finally, we arrived at our finale: The last piece. Together we “discovered” it, both excited and eager to complete the picture, but the decision was simple: They suggested I take the final piece. A seemingly simple gesture, for them though, they offered the world. Only a few hours ago it was the fuel that fed the fire, and then the anger that turned our class upside-down. Here though, one on one, I was offered the last piece… and I hold back the tears. I cannot describe the pride I feel when the kiddo I’m working with “gets” it, and makes an extraordinary gesture outside of what we thought was possible.
This is the life of an education assistant–the lows drag us through the trenches while the highs sit atop Everest–and everyday I am thankful for the opportunity to do what I do.
Isn’t that life though? Sometimes just buckling down and weathering the storm, while other times we ride atop the wave. In all walks of life we need to remember this. We all make decisions were not proud of, we all react to situations in ways we wish we hadn’t, we all fall guilty to the “I wish I had…” trap. This is human. Don’t beat yourself up about it though, take the lesson, learn from it, and grow. Allow bad decisions, a bad moment, or an all around terrible day to set with the sun, and offer yourself the opportunity to try again with each and every glorious day!
YOUR TURN! What does this mean to you? What situations have you endured? What growth and learning have you encountered? You can comment below, send me a message in the Contact section, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you 🙂
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