Q&A with instructional assistant Sherry Comar
By Anna Skinner
Current in Westfield caught up with Monon Trail Elementary School instructional assistant Sherry Comar to learn more about what IAs do in Westfield elementary schools. Comar graduated from Westfield High School in 1979 and has lived in Westfield her entire life. She has been an IA for 13 years, previously serving at Washington Woods Elementary School. She joined to Monon Trail Elementary School three years ago.
Q: What is your day-to-day job like?
A: I work in the life skills class, and we have six children we serve. There are two IAs. We work a daily schedule for the class, but the individual children, we serve them as what their abilities are and the teacher, of course, gives us that information. We teach them life skills like washing the hands and using the restroom and following schedules. We teach them academics, and the teacher works one-on-one with each student.
Q: What children do you serve?
A: Severe-to-moderate autism, non-verbal children, physical disabilities and, of course, mental disabilities. We also work with Down syndrome children and children with cerebral palsy. We work with children experiencing speech difficulties.
Q: Why is it your passion?
A: I love children of all abilities. I have the patience that it takes to get excited and let the child bloom in their own way.
Q: What do you want people to know about your job?
A: I love watching those children learn every day. If I don’t learn something, it’s a bad day, but usually one of the children teaches me something.
Q: What is the hardest part of your job?
A: Not to laugh when (the children) are being instructed not to do something they really want. Their little personalities and how they express themselves cracks me up. That’s the hardest, to be serious when there’s a child that wants to do (something), but that’s not what we’re learning today.