I am grateful to work for a district that supports School Counsellors and School Counselling . Today I get the honour of presenting to my colleagues who make a difference every day. Thanks for all you do! You can find the link to my slide deck here.
Canva is an amazing tool for School Counsellors. You are often the one to help organizes special events, make posters that are relevant to School Counselling , share ideas etc. Canva can help you create all the resources you need.
Twitter is one of the best resources there is for School Counsellors . You can connect with and share resources with other School Counsellors worldwide. Access is immediate and you never know what great connections you can make that help you be better at what you do. You can follow the ATA of School Counsellors and the president of the Council @ehordyskiluong. Check out #scchat here .
Teacher Pay Teachers is an inexpensive wonderful resource for School Counsellors. I did not always support this resource as I felt educators needed to share freely, but now I understand what hard work goes into making these resources and really they are very inexpensive for the work being done. School Counsellors why reinvent the wheel when it is already invented? Check it out on TPT .
APPS: There are so many apps that can make a School Counsellors life easier. Here are just a few.
RESOURCES: There are so many great resources and people are the best resource so get connected and share share share. School Counsellor Online Professional Exchange is a resource that you won’t want to miss thanks @ecmmason for creating it! SCOPE
Blogging: There are so many fantastic School Counsellor Blogs. Each one is different ,but most have tips and resources you can use tomorrow. Creating your own blog can help other School Counsellors and students
As soon as I entered the field of School Counselling I knew I had to be an advocate. I thought as a teacher I knew what School Counsellors did. Was I wrong!!!
Since then my colleagues and I have advocated at a district level to bring more awareness to what we do. Has it made a difference? YES! YES! YES! Our district is one of the best in the country when it comes to supporting , understanding and recognizing the work that School Counsellors do.
I have also advocated at a provincial level by being one of the voices and president of the then Alberta Guidance Council. Today my friend Erin Luong has taken up that advocacy role in the ATA Council Of School Counsellors and they are lucky to have her.
At a national level in 1999 , I was part of the first delegation of Counsellors to go to China along with my leader and friend Maria de Cicco as part of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association . My administrator and district supported me as a School Counsellor advocate on this journey. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will treasure and never forget.
Strong leaders are needed to be the voice along with School Counsellors . We need someone in Canada who has the same powerful, inspiring voice as Michelle Obama does here:
Today although I am semi retired I still want to advocate. I believe School Counselling is one of the most important positions that every school still needs , maybe now more than ever.
So I say Canadian School Counsellors raise up your voices, if you want change , make it happen … be the change!!!!! We need your voice! Being silent won’t produce the changes needed across the country. You are valuable. You do matter . You are needed and you do make a difference. YOUR VOICE MATTERS!
Want to know how to be a great advocate just follow the #SCCHAT feed on twitter to see how it’s done. Let’s join in Canadians with our world counterparts who are advocating and being the voice for School Counsellors worldwide.
Hope you’ll join me and @counselorPCE for a very special #NSCW18#scchat this Wednesday at 8:30PM ET! Time to celebrate our favorite profession!
The impact that social media has on kids is undeniable. A recent article in the New York Times highlights some of the more concerning issues.
I don’t think we need much convincing that social media has had an impact on all our lives and it is not going away anytime soon. I am a neophyte when it comes to social media, but in my work with children and their families over the past 30 years has allowed me a first hand insight into the world of children and their families.
What can we do as parents, counsellors and educators to mitigate the impact that social media is having on our young people? As in any situation where we are trying to teach children, we ourselves need to be the role model. We need to examine the message we send our kids when we are engaged in use of our own devices. What parameters do we have for ourselves when it comes to use of devices? Do we actually have discussions with our kids about amount of usage, times and places that are no go zones for adults and kids? Do we understand the safety issues and if not do we educate ourselves about these issues and discuss them with our children? Yes, with any privilege comes responsibility, both for us as the adult and for our children whom we must guide to be ethical digital citizens. Don’t let their media skills fool you! Although they appear to be very savvy in the area of technology, they do not have the life experience or a fully developed brain that allows them to project the outcome of what they may see as just having a little fun or wanting to fit in.
Often I am asked the question, ” Why do so many kids today suffer from anxiety ?” There is no easy answer to this question but there are many more questions that we need to ask. In particular, “What is it that appears to be causing such an increase in child and adolescent anxiety? Is it related to social media? Are we over pathologizing what may be normal reactions to stressful situations in our environment. According to Dr Stan Kutcher, a leading psychiatrist from Dalhousie University, “anxiety is a gift we have inherited from our ancestors to protect us from threat and to kick-start ambition; to fight it we have to face it.” In order to “face it” we need to first of all understand what is happening and then respond to it in a manner which will allow us to maximize the outcome.
In other words we can use the anxiety or stress, to benefit us in our day-to-day functioning. If we see it as a gift, we respond from a totally different repertoire or mindset than if we see it as a threat. A gift is something positive, something we welcome, something that may make things easier for us, or at times may challenge us and help us grow. How can we work with our kids to help them understand and see anxiety as a gift? What are some strategies that will help them develop a different mindset? Additionally, what part does social media play and are we, as parents, educators, and counsellors, contributing to the mindset of threat or gift? In my next guest post I will explore these very questions and discuss ways to unpack the gift of anxiety.
As a Counsellor or Psychologist you are surrounded by people who are not always optimistic. Is it important that you remain optimistic? I absolutely think it is essential.
How did I get to be an optimist? For me I believe there is a genetic component to why I am the way I am. I also believe it is because I have chosen to cope in the best possible way to the many negative things that have happened in my life. It is unrealistic for me to expect that I will feel optimistic in every situation, but in every situation I attempt to look for the good and what I can learn. Does this mean I look through rose coloured glasses? No, I fully recognize that there are some situations I have not handled well or times I have felt very sad or hurt or unloved, but I have worked very hard in my life not to stay in negativity. I feel my feelings , reach out for support and move towards a more optimistic outlook.
I surround myself as much as possible with people who lift me up , not tear me down. I hope you too will find the good in each possible moment you can , not just for you, but for the people you serve or love.
Hope doesn’t mean denying reality , but looking it in the eyes and remembering the heroes and events that challenged injustice in the past.
I have been very fortunate to work with and supervise many great School Counsellors. I learn from them and they learn from me. Giving back matters and I believe seasoned School Counsellors should supervise our future School Counsellors. It helps us stay on top of our profession and allows us to be in a constant state of learning.
According to Bradley and Gould (2001) all supervision models should incororate a collaborative relationship which focuses on the indiviuality of the supervisee and one that facilitates growth and autonomy.
Some things to reflect on if you are ever in the position of supervising a student counsellor :
Have they developed a conceptual map with each client?
Which theoretical models are they adding to their toolbox?
What actions should they take in varing situations?
Are they developing the instincts and comfort level required of a beginning counsellor?
Are they developing a leadership role within the school?
Are they being culturally sensitive?
How are they collaborating with staff? How are they optimizing their role?
Do they understand how a comprehensive counselling program plan is executed?
Have you discussed limits to their scope of practice?
Have you let them know they will make mistakes, misjudge situations, and lose track of sessions , but time and experience will take care of all of this.
Have you let them know lifelong reflection is essential?
Have you discussed dual roles, boundary issues and confidentiality?
Have you discussed ethical issues as they arise?
Have you modelled on a regular basis your counselling skills?
Have you updated read about updated models of supervision?
Are you in a constant state of professional development?
If you are a psychologist are you constantly aware of your own code of ethics?
Do you model and practice self- care strategies yourself?
The above are but a few thoughts to get you started. For more information on supervision and supervisory practices click here. The ATA Council of School Counsellors also offers excellent resources for a new School Counsellor.
“Nothing leaves a deeper impact on students than actually allowing students to see proper social media usage modeled daily by respected adults (parents, teachers, administrators) and by allowing students to use social media properly in the actual space” says Nikki D Robertson in her article Don’t Ban Social Media.
Digital Citizenship becomes even more important daily as students and adults figure out what matters online. As School Counsellors you can take the lead in this area. If you know how to navigate and model proper social media usage , then you will be able to assist the students you serve to do so too.
I know for me learning all the ins and outs was not easy ( and still isn’t ) , but the lessons were so important for me to learn as a seasoned School Counsellor. I am here to say we are never too old to learn and we should indeed continue to discover and educate ourselves. Every day I continue to master new ideas and believe we must start early to teach all students and all staff about digital citizenship.
Daily online, I see school administrators, counsellors , teachers and students who do not understand the basic concept of EVERYTHING ONLINE IS PUBLIC. Even if you believe it is private … it is not. Many fall into the trap of the Illusion of Privacy.
If you’d like more articles on digital citizenship you can check out my online School Counsellor Talk weekly here.
I hope to see many more School Counsellors take the lead when it comes to this most important area in a comprehensive school counselling program plan. Won’t you join me on this learning journey?