With a new job, Sarah passes on lessons of confidence to her students

At the beginning of December, Sarah had the pleasure of seeing her students put on a play as part of family game night. It was just one of many great moments that she’s seen as an educator.

sarah“They really did a great job,” Sarah says of her students’ performance, which she describes like reader’s theatre. “That will give them more confidence in their reading.”

Sarah is an outreach teacher for the READ Society (new window), where she teaches an after school reading program. She’s now helping her students find confidence — something she once lacked.

Sarah has schizoaffective disorder (new window). She is on medication and hasn’t been in the hospital for six years.

However, she was having trouble finding work.

“I didn’t really believe in myself, because I applied for a lot of jobs, I had a lot of interviews, but I wasn’t able to secure a position,” explains Sarah.

Her mother had recommended that she go to the Victoria Disability Resource Centre (new window). There she found the Neil Squire Society. At the Neil Squire Society’s Victoria office, career facilitator Wendy Cox put Sarah through the Working Together program.

“[Wendy] believed in me from the beginning and I didn’t really believe in myself,” says Sarah.

Sarah has always had a passion for teaching. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Victoria (new window), and was on the teacher on-call list in Saanich, but was removed when she didn’t meet the required amount of work days to stay on the list. “I wasn’t as healthy as I am now,” she notes. Since 2011, she has volunteered with a Grade One class once a week.

“Knowing that I can make a difference in someone’s life, open their eyes to possibilities, and watch them grow through learning [motivates me],” she explains.

Through Working Together, she re-structured her resume, learned about disclosure, and honed her interview skills, helping her become more confident, as a self-described “shy” person.

And when the time came, Wendy had found the perfect job for Sarah — an outreach teacher. Sarah applied and got the job.

“[I learned] that I could really contribute in some way, that I was employable and worthy of a job,” Sarah says. “I have a lot to offer.”