Name: Esha Shoker
Kwantlen Program: Bachelor of Arts degree and Special Education Teacher Assistant Diploma
Grad Year: BA 2015, SETA 2009
Employed as: Education Assistant and Inner City Secondary School Worker
Employer website: www.surreyschools.ca
What are your primary responsibilities at your job?
As an education assistant, my primary responsibilities are to review and reinforce learning activities using lesson plans and learning strategies developed by the teacher/team to help student’s master concepts and skills. I also assist with the development of instructional learning resources. On a daily/weekly basis, I produce materials and implement strategies to accommodate individual learner needs/styles. Furthermore, I gather relevant information through working with students to provide feedback into the planning process.
As an ICSSW, my primary responsibilities are to establish trusting and meaningful one-to-one relationships with youth. I implement strategies such as planned daily activities, treatment interventions, structured environments, and organize recreational and social activities. I also, help individuals identify personal strengths and provide resources for positive change. Lastly, I act as a resource for individuals and their families. The most important role I play is to help them become advocates for themselves and to take responsibility for their actions.
What is your favourite part of your work?
That I am a part of a team that focuses on making positive changes in the lives of children and youth. Through the guidance of social workers, teachers and counselors, these students are more likely to live healthier lifestyles. I have seen this firsthand when students turn their lives from negative to positive through their dedication and commitment to live healthier happier lives. It is because of success stories like these my passion for social working grows stronger and it encourages me to further myself in this line of work. I enjoy being a part of a team where we work together to give our students the best academic and/or personal support they need to get through school and give them the tools they need to excel in other areas of life once they graduate.
How do you like to unwind/handle stress?
The first thing I do is focus on my breathing. When I'm more aware of my breath, I control my emotions better I count to five slowly during each deep inhale and exhale through the nose. By doing so I immediately start to feel calm, therefore I make better decisions. After the stressful situation has passed, I like to unwind by reading, writing and/or meditating preferably outdoors near a forest or by water. This is the most important part of my stress handling process because it allows me to fully heal from the stressful situation and put it to rest.
Who is the most famous person you've ever met?
Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan.
If you had a time machine and could have lunch with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
If I had a time machine and could have lunch with anyone it would be with Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is the founder of the Sikh faith. He travelled far and wide teaching people the message of one God who dwells in everyone. He set up a unique spiritual, social and political platform based on equality, fraternal love, goodness and virtue.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from my faith and family. My Grandmother specifically has been an inspiration for me ever since I was a child. She has inspired me to think with an open mind, to travel whenever possible, to have a couple hobbies, to never stop singing and dancing, to keep on learning and to follow my heart’s desires because that is what makes life worth living. At the age of 76, she wrote and published a book of short stories and poems about her life and how she connects life, love, nature and spirituality as one. She will be turning 80 soon and she still writes poetry just for fun. She was also one of my inspirations to start writing/journaling.
I have also been inspired by individuals who I’ve encountered throughout the years who introduced me to different cultures, traditions and ways of life. It is because of my experience with these people that I have grown into a much more open minded individual.
I am certain that I will continue to grow in different areas of my life because of my willingness to experience new ideas. Lastly, Ross Laird (IDEA professor at KPU) inspired me to follow my heart versus the societal norms of what is perceived as “the next best career option.” Within one year I took six IDEA courses and each one inspired me to spend more time focusing on my emotions, feelings and thoughts. I am a stronger, more confident student than ever before and I have gained the inspiration to pursue a career in clinical counseling and/or facilitating. If it weren’t for Ross’s heartfelt and thought-provoking lectures/classes, it would have taken me longer to figure out that teaching was never truly meant for me. I was encouraged in the gentlest way possible to first listen to my innermost desires, second to understand them and third to make an action plan to turn my desires into reality.
Where do you see yourself in one, five or 10 years?
If I was asked this question last year I would have had a detailed 10 year plan written up! Lucky for me, I have let go of long-term planning and unhealthy control. On the bright side, I have started embracing the unknown. I live more in the moment now and I can say with confidence that I have never been happier in my life. I have not thought as far as 10 years down the road and maybe that’s because I’m still not 100 per cent certain which career path to take, although I always knew I wanted to work in a field where I could make a difference and help people overcome struggle.
A year from now I see myself being an ICSSW full time, volunteering with a counseling agency and hopefully starting to facilitate workshops geared toward discussing issues around the increasing gang involvement and exploitation of girls in our community, and educating children/youth on how to deal with societal pressures. I also see myself doing a lot of hiking and traveling!
In about five years, I see myself hopefully as a clinical counselor or as a facilitator of healing groups where my main focus would be to work the South Asian community. Whether I go into counseling or facilitating, I see myself in a position where I have more power to make positive changes within the South Asian community.
Generally speaking, whether it is one year from now or five or ten, I see myself continuously learning and intrinsically growing, I see myself being content with life & what it has to offer, I see myself being thankful for a loving family/friends. Today, tomorrow and always, I see myself surrounded by people who blossom positivity, love, hope, peace and faith into my life and I hope to do the same back for them.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of being raised by two amazing and hardworking parents! Their teachings, morals, values, ethos, support and role modeling have influenced me greatly. Whether it was their tough love or gentle love, they gave me a fine balance of the two and showed me the meaning of family, commitment and hard work. They are the reason for my successes in life. It is because of them I have had the privilege of training competitively in Indian dance for 15 years, which also gave me the opportunity to travel many places in North America to compete. After placing first, second and third in numerous competitions throughout the years, I officially retired from dance in 2013. I also have approximately 15 years of musical training, which includes playing the harmonium (Indian instrument) and singing.
Academically I am proud to have competed two diplomas: first in Early Childhood Education and second in Special Education from KPU, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from KPU.
Lastly, I am proud of being an entrepreneur. I always had a passion for freelance hair and makeup artistry, so in 2010 I opened my own hair and makeup business. I branded myself by creating a business name, logo, webpage, social media pages etc., which showcase my work and today my business is doing very well. This summer, I have been hired by a British bride to do her hair and makeup for her wedding day; she will be flying me out to Britain at the end of June! She is my first international client, and I feel very proud that she chose me to be her hair and makeup artist over any other artist for her wedding day. My Instagram page is @bella_makeup_hair. Check it out! Everything I am most proud of has stemmed from my passions, so my number one advice is to never give up on your passion(s) because they will play a huge role in why you feel proud and accomplished.
Greatest advice for life?
Accept all the good and bad in your past as a part of your story and understand that it has no power over you today, unless you allow it to. Try to live each day judgment- and expectation-free. Remember to wear a smile every day!
Begin journaling, if you “don’t have the time,” make the time. I found that the best times to journal were when I had a lot of stuff on my mind or if I was feeling very emotional. Journaling/writing has helped me be more aware of my feelings and emotions and has given me the time to figure out how to handle those feelings and emotions. Instead of staying quiet and soaking up negativity, I learned new and positive ways to go about situations through my own writing process.
Share what you think and feel - just be careful the way in which you communicate it. I realized I had been hesitant about sharing my honest thoughts toward certain topics and this was becoming a very unhealthy habit. So I decided to work on being open yet respectful with my honest thoughts instead of fearing what the other person’s response will be, because it’s inevitable that others will disagree with me in some matters and that’s a part of life. Although, the one thing I am in full control of is how I communicate those thoughts or feelings. The sharing of opinions and feelings can be a very healthy process but it has to be done respectfully. So be mindful of that. Our differences make us unique.
Don’t worry too much about others, just worry about what you are doing and what you are not doing. The only thing you should be in control of is yourself. Don’t worry too much about the future either. Try focusing in on that energy and gear it towards being focused “in the now,” which is also known as being present. Spend as much time you can with loved ones and travel at least once a year because money comes and goes but memories are priceless.
Lastly, make a list of three to five positive reinforcements which mean something to you. For example, I have the following positive reminders hanging above my desk, which I read every morning.
1. I am in control of myself only. I am in control of my happiness and therefore I have the power to do decide how my day is going to be. Make it an awesome one!
2. I am not competing against anyone. I am only trying to be the best version of myself.
3. Never quit due to slow progress; remember that slow progress is progress. You are not in a race with anyone and no one is in a race with you.
4. Relax. Nothing is under control. Everything will be OK in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end.
5. Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best.
Favourite Kwantlen moment?
I have many memorable moments at Kwantlen, but if I had to choose a favourite, it would be when I facilitated a Classical Indian Dance (Bharatanathyam) workshop and a Sikh Faith workshop for my IDEA class last semester.
What's the last book you read?
dream / arteries by Phinder Dulai
What's currently on your iPod?
Top 20 tracks
By Thy Grace – by Snatam Kaur
Ras – by Snatam Kaur
Hindi song - Judaai from the movie Badlapur
Hindi song- Tose Naina by Arajit Singh
Bhangra song – Sidi Sadi Jatti by Harjit Harman
Bhangra song- timetable by kulwinder billa
Truffle Butter by Drake and Nikki Manaj
She Knows by Ne Yo
Five More Hours by Chris Brown and Deorro
Don’t Wake Me Up by Chris Brown
Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey
Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey
Night Changes – One Direction
Yellow – Coldplay
Fix you – Coldplay
Magic – Coldplay
A Sky Full of Stars - Coldplay
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Levels by Avicci