My Turn: Simona Holland

Meet Simona Holland, an educational assistant at Cedar Chapel Special School in Worcester County. She is a member of the Worcester County Education Support Personnel Association.

My passion for teaching began when I was a young girl growing up in Romania. I was inspired by my basketball coach; he was an outstand­ing coach and a better human being. It was his love and passion for coaching that ignited a fire inside of me  to become a teacher and coach. After graduating from college with a physical education degree, I began my journey as a teacher and coach.

Since coming to the United States, I have had several oppor­tunities to work with children through teaching and coaching different youth sports. I have worked with students from two different coun­tries and two different school systems.

It was five years ago when my sister-in-law invited me to spend a day in her classroom. I remembered why I wanted to become a teacher—I wanted to help children achieve their goals as well as help them decide who and what they wanted to be. I am grateful for my sister-in-law and our school principal and assistant principal for the opportunity to work in such an amazing school. We are a small school with amazing students who have unbelievable abilities and talent. My school is my extended family, and I am so grateful for them!

I recently became involved with our local union, the Worcester County Education Support Personnel Association (WCESPA), and am now one of two representatives from our school. Our union is important to me because we are a group of people united and working together to enhance change. Our local and state government leaders need to understand the value of support staff and change the ways in which we are viewed.

It’s hard to imagine a job that is so rewarding but so undervalued. It is extremely challenging to give so much of yourself to your students and fellow staff members, only to be slighted at the end of a pay period! Although support staff are not always recognized for our roles, I believe it would be impossible for any school system to function properly without our hard work and dedication.

I am blessed to have such an amazing family and extended school family. I try to teach my children that being “great” is a choice that requires sacrifice and hard work. Many times we believe that we are the cause for change in our students lives, however we often realize that it’s our students who change our lives and make us better individuals.

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