What are my gifts? Who can I help? What can I learn?

ELG Specialists and the Xiersen team (Xiersen is ELG’s sister affiliated NGO) were the warmly welcomed guest speakers at a meaningful Concordia International School Shanghai careers event. 

This event, co-organized with Concordia Shanghai, was part of Xiersen’s AGame campaign to improve understanding of careers that support children with special needs or ‘Careers in Care’. 

AGame is a group of inclusive activities to raise awareness for special education in China which are fun, educational and inspiring. The “A” in AGame stands for ability, awareness and action!

ELG Specialists included Reading Specialist, Miriam McBreen, Behavior Therapists – Tameah Chandler and Katie Philcox, Occupational Therapist, Phoebe Jan and Speech-Language Pathologist, Tiffany Chen.

That day, these Specialists shared deeply about their passions, profession and journeys with Concordia Shanghai’s 8th Graders and teachers. Scroll on down to see what they had to say!

What do you like about your job? Why you do what you do? 

Phoebe Jan

I work with kids who start out not being able to do an activity they really like, from basic things like tying their shoes to playing certain sports. I work with them to help them improve their abilities ‘till they can join in or do the activity they really like. Seeing the children’s smiles makes me happy.

Tiffany Chen

You don’t really know about these children until you work with them. When you play with them, you enjoy being yourself. Being with them brings out the best of me!

Katie Philcox

The kids we work with have been told that they don’t fit in, being able to work with them, to see them gain confidence and self-esteem – that’s very empowering and motivating for me. 

Miriam McBreen

The biggest reward in my job is to see the impact it has on students on themselves. You get to see your work directly translate into impacting someone’s life. 

Tameah Chandler

I often work with children with very aggressive behavior at school and at home. When you see the change and difference it makes, not just in the child, but for the entire family, it’s truly a blessing! It’s not just that I help these kids, they help me every day. They teach me to love people more every day!

What drew you to this profession? 

Tameah Chandler

After graduation, I started working as a behavioral aide for children with autism because I needed a job. At first, I felt that I was not the one to work with children, and found myself saying, “This is hard, but I love you. “At the end, I fell completely in love with the children. I love people, and I love the kids!

Katie Philcox 

This wasn’t my plan either. When I was six, I once saw an ambulance run a red light.   which I immediately remarked to my mum, that that was wrong! My mum mentioned something that stuck with me, she said “You can break the rules when you’re helping someone.” That was a revelation to my 6-year-old mind! As it turned out with all the blood and broken bones, this wasn’t quite the career for me, but the permission to step outside the box, in service of others, was a passion I continued to follow.

When you were in school who was your favorite teacher and why?

Miriam McBreen 

My favorite teacher was a neuroscience teacher in college that used to be a magician! He made me realize that you can have true passion for what you do and enjoy it every day. It was very inspiring to me. 

What’s it like working with special kids and their families? What do you say to them?

Miriam McBreen

It is not uncommon for students to struggle with some form of disability. We tell them not to be embarrassed and that we’re here to help.

Tiffany Chen

We understand that it is difficult for families and a child to be different and there is a long way to go. But it’s not something to frown upon and we can help make it better.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your path?

Miriam McBreen 
If you want to work in this field, you need to be patient and positive to see progress happen. Try to get involved today! Reach out to
people in that field and ask questions about the career. 
Tameah Chandler
Three things: 1. Know yourself before going into it, 2. Give 100%, 3. Dip your toes in – be willing to try something new. You never know!

It was truly a wonderful event. Special thanks to Concordia Shanghai for the privilege to share. We hope that this event sparked more awareness about the special education field and inspired some to take action!

Join ELG to help us change lives – apply or volunteer with us today! 

So happy we could partner together. Grateful for your team and willingness to share with our students! – Genevieve Ermeling, Assistant Head of School for Teaching & Learning, Concordia Shanghai 

It is so great to hear passionate support counselors share about their careers. – Staff, Concordia Shanghai