My CO-OP Experience!
What is CO-OP?
CO-OP stands for co-operative education and it is an outside of the classroom opportunity that allows you to learn and apply concepts that you would learn in the classroom, out in the real world!
For my CO-OP, I work in a program at my school for students with special needs. The needs of the students vary; some are hearing impaired, some have down syndrome or autism. My placement is in a course called “Navigating the Community”. In this class, the students learn about the community around them and have the chance to explore it by planning routes on Google Maps, walking around the community and taking busses! I am assigned two students. One has down syndrome and the other is non-verbal and has autism. I work along-side the teacher and the educational assistants in the classroom to create different and unique ways of learning. I’ve created my own check-lists and worksheets to help my students with their learning.
My Favourite thing about my Placement
I absolutely love working with people and learning new ways to do things while thinking “out of the box”. I love problem solving and adapting to new situations quickly. My favourite thing about this placement is creating relationships with my two students, because I feel that the students relate better with people their age or at least similar in age! I love watching them grow and learn new things, the smiles on the students faces, and them asking for me to help them is so rewarding!
Why CO-OP is Beneficial
In my opinion, CO-OP is super, super important! It allows you to explore different work domains and try new things. You might try a CO-OP and end up loving it, but you also may hate it. It’s all about learning with hands-on! You may go into a workplace during CO-OP where you thought you wanted to work in for the rest of your life and then get to your placement and realize, “wow, this work really is not for me!”! CO-OP allows you to try different things and work with different people outside of school!
My CO-OP experience has also been beneficial to me because it has given me new skills like communication, collaboration, initiative and independence! It’s also given me self-confidence and boosted my self-esteem because the students I work with love me being in their lives and helping them. My number one goal going into this CO-OP was to create an impact in someone’s life, and I believe that I have exceeded this goal.