More than a job – a place to feel appreciated: Susan Wong on her retirement job as a supervision aide
For Susan Wong, her position as one of five supervision aides at Crosstown Elementary is an opportunity she both relishes and is thankful for.
Susan earned a degree in psychology from UBC, focusing on child development. She also studied financial management at BCIT and spent several years working in a dental office, before becoming a stay-at-home mom to two boys for 20 years.
With her boys grown up, she found she wanted to do more, but was worried that such a long spell outside of the workforce would make it difficult to find employment.
She dipped a toe into the employment pool by volunteering at John Norquay Elementary School, where her sister was an Early Mandarin bilingual teacher. Enjoying the school experience, at her sister’s suggestion, Susan applied successfully for a job at VSB in 2014.
For the next three years, Susan worked as a supervision aide at Norma Rose Point Elementary School and Roberts Annex.
As luck would have it, šxʷwəq̓ʷəθət Crosstown – just a 10-minute walk from Susan’s home – opened in 2017 and needed supervision aides.
“I wasn’t sure I’d be good with kids, but I am actually very good with children,” she says. “I’ve found that I can use what I learned at school and from my life experience in this job. I would never trade it for another job.”
A typical day – 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – involves supervising students during two 20-minute morning recesses and lunch, and helping with tasks in the classroom. Supervision aides work with teachers, helping students in their classrooms if needed. Following class time, they help prepare the lunchroom for two staggered lunches.
“It’s a very happy environment,” Susan says. “The teachers appreciate our help. I love interacting with the children and making sure they are safe. You know, I thought I would be a homemaker for the rest of my life. But here I am. The feeling of being wanted, doing the job well and being appreciated by the principal and the staff is very rewarding. It’s helped make my life really happy.”
“This is my retirement job,” she adds, with a laugh.