Prince Rupert, BC — Ladan Zahrai has always had a passion for education. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she decided it was time to turn her passion into a career.
Originally from Iran, Ladan and her husband, Erfan, moved to Prince Rupert after he was hired to teach computer science, math, and physics at Coast Mountain College (CMTN). When more college programs became available online in 2020, Erfan suggested that Ladan look into the Education Assistant (EDUA) Certificate program with CMTN.
“I applied and I’m glad I did,” says Ladan. She adds that she found taking the program to be an amazing experience, one that has helped her tremendously in the job she’s now doing. “The entire program was very well thought out,” she says.
Ladan says her favourite part of the EDUA program was her practicums in kindergarten, grade one, and grade two classes, where she was able to put into practice all that she had learned.
Today, Ladan works at a secondary school in Prince Rupert, alternating between a life skills class in the morning and either a French or a Sm’algyax class in the afternoon.
Working with different age ranges, Ladan says she finds it interesting that there can be so many challenges early in a child’s life that show in the school environment. Factors such as a supportive home environment and eating regular meals impact a child’s ability to learn and pay attention, and their overall performance in school.
Ladan says she enjoys helping her students in any way she can to make their lives easier, and when they succeed at, for example, completing their assignments, she celebrates with them.
“[The career] has a lot of merit, and it’s very rewarding,” she says.
Another thing Ladan enjoys about being an education assistant is getting to learn along with her students in class. “I learned a lot about Indigenous history and culture, because I was in a class where that was taught,” she says.
In the EDUA program, students learn about traditional Indigenous parenting models and the effects of colonization on Indigenous parenting, and on parent, family, and community relationships with the school.
Dr. Yuriko Riesen, Coordinator of the Education Assistant Program at CMTN, stresses the value of EAs in the school system and the benefits of a career in this field. Education assistants fill an important role in creating a solid, stable, and consistent learning environment for children and teens.
“It is a rewarding career in which one can assist young students to learn,” Yuriko says, adding that qualified education assistants are in high demand, with many being hired as casuals while still in the program.
Find out more about the Education Assistant program at CMTN or contact Yuriko at firstname.lastname@example.org with any inquiries.
Executive Director, External Relations