It really is hard for me to believe that I have retired from a career I not only felt passionate about, but loved deeply. Well, it wasn’t the career so much as the students I worked with that continued to make a difference for me.
School Counsellors really have a multifaceted role which can be exhilerating and exhausting. They do save lives every year. Unfortunately sometimes even though they do their best they are unable to prevent student trauma. Trauma does and will continue to occur in schools. I want to continue to support School Counsellors so that is why I will continue to co-moderate and help faciltate a School Counsellor chat #scchat
Erin , Erin HL and I would like to get at least 20 people who are willing to co-moderate at least one chat ! We will put a how to video together soon so that you will feel comfortable in leading a chat . You can always ask Erin, Erin HL or I questions at anytime. If you have any ideas for topics please let us know.
I am also interested in featuring you in a blog post . So if you are a School Counsellor and interested please let me know.
Picking up the pieces. I work with so many vulnerable youth and one in particular convinced me to not watch. This young person was incredibly triggered by watching the show and made me realize that I did not need to watch it in order to know the harm it could cause to those who are at risk.
Was I curious? Like most of you yes, and I do understand that it is compelling for both adults and youth to want to watch the series, but I also chose to not read the book years ago for some of the reasons I am about to discuss. For those who did watch … this is not a criticism, just a choice I want to make for my own reasons.
I think young people need to know that there are adults who while they may be very curious about the series will still choose to NOT watch . I know this show was NOT created to really help young people , otherwise they would have based the series on solid research around suicide, how it is portrayed in media and the impact on youth. I do realize the creators say they consulted with medical experts and had good intentions however, I do think they missed out on some valuable helpful information when it comes to suicide. Stan Kutcher , a Psychiatrist and mental health expert from Dalhousie University whom I respect believes the show could be dangerous to young people who choose to watch it.
I do not need to see the show to be informed and personally I have NO desire to see a child die by suicide (even if it is television). Some things on TV are even too graphic for me.
I choose not to be triggered by watching the show. I have worked with too many vulnerable youth. I know that I need to practice self-care . Watching this series is not going to make me a better parent , School Counsellor or Psychologist . Being able to discuss sensitive topics is essential and I believe I can do so without actually watching this series.
I plan on reading as many articles as I can that give informed information that is helpful regarding the series . The National Association of School Psychologists gives important information on how to do so responsibly. Dialoguing and engaging youth in thoughtful conversations around sensitive topics is essential. Yes, I certainly know a lot and I mean a lot have already chosen to watch and will watch this series , some will do so with their parents most I am guessing will watch on their own. Parents who watch can and will open a conversation that is useful and helpful with their child. I am just saying for me , I want students to know it is OK to not watch if they have not already done so.
I want all people to know that suicide is complex. We are learning more and more about the brain . I am sure new research in the future will give us a better understanding of some of the complexities.
I want students to know the protective factors, risk factors and warning signs of suicide. We have Canada Mental Health come in every year to speak to all our grade 10 High School Students.
I want all students and adults to become more literate when it comes to mental health. All staff at our school are trained in the go to educator series. You might want to consider this for your school.
This show is NOT hopeful . Students need HOPE in as many ways as possible.
Suicide is never a solution. It is an irreversible choice regarding a temporary problem. THERE IS HELP! If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, talk to a trusted adult, like your School Counsellor or call Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868.
School Counsellors across the world (#scchat) work very hard to let others know that they work diligently daily to help and serve students . They do save lives . They may possibly be the unsung hero in a child’s life , but that is not often the way they are depicted on tv or in movies and from what I have read definitely not in this series. There are also lots of other people who do like parents, teachers, administrators, support staff, coaches, psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, and friends. I want youth to reach out and keep asking for help until someone they trust makes that difference. WE DO CARE!!!!!
The opinions expressed in this article are mine alone. This is my choice and although I listed 13 reasons I could have listed many more. I do not regret my decision. I know it is best for me.
It’s summer time and I know I should be resting and believe me I do ! I have so much inside of me that I want to share that it is sometimes hard to know where to begin, but for today I’ll share what has been on my mind. I have been following ASCA’s twitter #ASCA16 feed over the past few days as I was unable to go this year. A couple of reflections come to mind.
Gratitude … Collaborating with others has brought the passion of what I love to do to the forefront. I am so grateful that I connected to @ecmmmason and #scchat only a few short years ago . Yes, #scchat was the first School Counsellor hashtag I followed and it has changed everything . Thank you Danielle Schultz and Erin Mason. I got and still get so much inspiration from seeing and getting help from all those who posted to the hashtag. I know that is why I am so passionate about others joining in with us as we collaborate this fall on a joint venture. See more here School Counsellors Collaborating as Leaders Worldwide. I care about the future of School Counsellors and School Counselling. I want to give back and so I continue to engage with others who are as passionate as I am.
Refirement not retirement.Yes, I am retiring next year, but I want to go out making it my best year ever. I still really love what I do. I am retiring because it is time to. Time to refocus and engage my energies in other directions, but for now I will stay focused on the present and possibilities. I am very excited about all the new ventures I will be taking on next school year.
Really there are so many possibilities. This is an amazing time in education and these are but a few things I plan on doing in my retirement 2016-2017 school year. Over the summer you may want to consider giving to the Mario Couros Bursary . It is because of the gratitude we in #etmooc feel and it will help a future educator!
To all of you who take the time to read my blog may your summer be filled with gratitude, ideas and opportunities as well as time to enjoy your family and friends. Rest,relax and rejuvenate! I plan to . Hitting the beach very soon!
We chose this profession. It is the best profession ever. All professions have struggles. Focus on the positive. Work towards making things better by being an advocate for other School Counsellors. Join your professional organization, have a voice on twitter and /or write a blog celebrating all the amazing things that happen in our profession.
Embrace your professionalism. You were trained well. Be ethical. Consult, consult consult.
Model a positive attitude towards work each and everyday.Your students will notice and feel it when you set the tone in your school and in your offices.
Be a good digital citizen. Be authentic , but if you need to vent do so privately and with colleagues in counselling who understand. Never vent online.
Connecting and collaborating makes us better at what we do. Collaboration has made me better at what I do. It actually makes the work I do easier. Share , connect and collaborate. It will make you a better professional.
Passion and purpose help our students. If we wake up with the mindset that we have an awesome responsibility to help others today knowing that each and everyday we have an opportunity to make a difference. We don’t always see the fruits of our labour , but that’s ok because we know that the small things we do can have a huge impact.
You are you. Be the best version of yourself. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to any other School Counsellor. Continually focus on professionally developing yourself so that you impact students in a positive way.
Live every day One Day At a Time. Easy to say , not easy to do. Focus all of your energies on making this the best day ever. Just for today I will … laugh.
Maintain gratitude for the work that we do. Being gratefulfor what we do rather than focusing on the things that we are not happy about is always a great state of mind. We chose this profession. I am grateful everyday that I did.
As a School Counsellor and or Psychologist there are people who have informed and influenced your practice. Who are the people that have impacted you in a positive way and why have they influenced the way you serve others?
Below you will find people’s work I admire and have utilized in my own practice. While not a comprehensive list, it is an important list to me . The list is not any any particular order of influence.
The people below have had a great impact on me and the students I serve. Many of the people in theses videos I have had the great honour and privilege to meet in person and dialogue about the amazing work they have done. Some have become friends for which I am truly grateful. I would have loved to have met Victor Frankl and Leo Buscaglia, but am fortunate to have cherished their books and videos. I have and will continue always to pass on the wisdom from their works. I am grateful to all!
The following TED Talks and videos are excellent for School Counsellors:
Martin Seligman The New Era of Positive Psychology
Some highlights from Seligman. Psychology should be as concerned with strength as it is with weakness and in building the best things in life as it is in repairing the worst. It should also be as concerned with making the lives of normal people fulfilling and with nurturing high talent as healing pathology .
2. Shawn Anchor: The Secret To Better Work
Some highlights from Anchor.It takes 21 days 3 minutes every day to train your brain to be more positive. What are 3 things you are grateful for ? Write them down everyday. Journaling about one positive experience you’ve had over the past 24 hours allows your brain to relive it. Exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters. Meditation allows your brain to get over the cultural ADHD that we’ve been creating by trying to do multiple tasks at once and allows our brains to focus on the task at hand. Random acts of kindness are conscious acts of kindness.
3. The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude
Some highlights. Take time to tell someone how grateful you are that they are in your life. Do it today!
4. My Philosophy for A Happy Life Sam Berns
Some highlights from Sam.Sam had progeria. Sam lived life fully while he was living. Always have something to look forward to. Accept life when you are feeling badly. You can change the world and he did. Never miss a party.
Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.
– Leo Tolstoy
5. My Last Days Meet Zach Sobiech
You don’t have to find out you are dying to start living. Most people live in the middle , but you don’t have to. What’s awesome about living in this world is that you can help . People we don’t really know can change our lives. Love makes life better.
6. Educate The Heart
Highlights :A child’s heart and mind are fragile. We have an enormous responsibility … we need to educate students from the heart. It can start today in our schools.
7. I renamed this to From the heart : What Real Winners Look Like.
Highlights:Watch and you’ll see.
If you have any great video’s you know School Counsellors should see please send them my way @sspellmancann.
It is always time to talk about mental health and wellness when it comes to students. This year we held our second Mental Health Symposium with Dr. Alec Couros, but throughout the year we hold small events that inform students about the importance of their own wellness.
Last year our theme was Living Aware, Living Informed , Living Empowered. We want our students at Bishop Carroll High School to feel fully empowered and we want them to be good digital citizens by posting to the hashtag #empowerBCHS
Take a look at some of the great things our students have to say:
Click here to find out more information about our symposium last year.
Our theme this year was Living Fully Alive. We really wanted students to think about all the reasons they could and should want to live. Click here to learn more.
We wanted students to leave with resources which you can find by clicking here.
We also want to continue the dialogue and have students learn more about mental health literacy. Thanks to Dr. Stan Kutcher we can .
When it comes to mental health we need to :
1) Know how to obtain and maintain good mental health
2) Understanding mental disorders and their treatments based on the best scientific evidence
3) Decrease Stigma
4) Know when and where to get help , know what to expect when you get help and having the tools to empower us to get the best care possible
Take a look at his fabulous website to find out more Teenmentalhealth.org. We hope you will join us in our work . You can collaborate anytime with us on the topic of mental health and wellness by contacting @sspellmancann . Go ahead make a difference for teens , because mental health and wellness matters.
School Counsellors all over Canada are making a difference. I want to share what you do!!
I thank you School Counsellors in Canadaand in the world for all you do. YOU DO #makeadifference. Post to the hashtag #cscchat Canadian School Counsellor Chat to share what you do .
Inspired by my dear friend Maria De Cicco, I am wanting to celebrate all the great work School Counsellors are doing in Canada this week. I want to feature YOU and what you do on my blog. If you would like to write an article and send it to me, I would love to feature the fabulous things School Counsellors are doing . Please send a pic if you can along with your blog post to email@example.com. If you would just like to send me a pic of you and a message that is great too. I would be happy to share it on twitter with your permission. I believe there are School Counsellors all over Canadadoing amazing things and the TIME IS NOW to share what you do!!!!
Check out Julie Fantinato ‘s @jfantinato school district’s comments from Elementary school students about their School Counsellor.
The CCPA has some ideas for you . Below you can see an example of what we plan on doing at BCHS. Here are some possible examples of PA Announcements:
Monday: This week is Canadian School Counselling Week. We challenge you today we challenge you to take 10 mins. out of your day to exercise or practice mindfullness. Need more information or tips please pick up todays tips in Student Services. Have a great day! You can make a difference.
Tuesday: It is Canadian School Counsellor Week. Today we challenge students and staff to do one small good deed and when you do please post it to the hashtag #empowerBCHS or come and share with us what you did and we will share it on our school facebook site. Have a fabulous day . You make a difference.
Wednesday: It is Canadian School Counsellor Week. Today we challenge each student and staff member to express your gratitude to someone at school by telling them thank you for… You could even write a post card to them . The post cards will be available all week in Student Services. Being grateful improves your overall happiness. Do it today! You make a difference.
Thursday: It is Canadian School Counsellor Week. Today we challenge students and staff to let one of your family members know how important they are. Pick up a You make a difference in my life card in Student Services and give it to them. Remember you make a difference.
Friday: It is the last day of School Counselling Week. Your school counsellors want you to know we are here for you anytime . Come see us in Students Services. Today we challenge you to think about your favourite wellness quote and post it to the hashtag #empowerBCHS or share it with us in Student Services and we will feature it in the upcoming weeks. Have a wonderful weekend and remember You make a difference.
You may also wish to send someone you know who supports School Counsellors a thank you. This one I made with haiku deck.
Alberta School Counsellors are also doing amazing things . Check out their website here . ProclamationCanadian School Counselling Week.
Proclamation from CCPA for School Counselling Week
WHEREAS, school counsellors are employed in public and privateschools to help students reach their full potential; andWHEREAS, school counsellors are actively committed to helping studentsexplore their abilities, strengths, interests, and talents as thesetraits relate to career awareness and development; andWHEREAS, school counsellors help parents focus on ways to furtherthe educational, personal and social growth of their children; andWHEREAS, school counsellors work with teachers and other educatorsto help students explore their potential and set realistic goals forthemselves; andWHEREAS, school counsellors seek to identify and utilize communityresources that can enhance and complement comprehensive schoolcounselling programs and help students become productive members ofsociety; andWHEREAS, comprehensive developmental school counselling programsare considered an integral part of the educational process thatenables all students to achieve success in school;Therefore, I, ___________________________________ do hereby proclaimFebruary 2-6, 2015, as Canadian School Counselling Week. School Counsellors make a difference . It is worth repeating. Thank you School Counsellors in Canada and in the world for all you do. YOU DO #makeadifference. Post to the hashtag #cscchat Canadian School Counsellor Chat to share what you do especially this week.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive.” – Howard Thurman
At Bishop Carroll High School we take mental health and wellness seriously. Our district and province have made a committment to focus on the well being of our students . Take a look at the video below to see what Alberta teachers are saying.
Our mental health wellness committee put together our second symposium featuring Dr. Alec Couros.
Need a background start here and really think about the words you use when it comes to mental health .
Take a peek at our 2005 Mental Health Living Fully Alive Symposium:
Mental health is important and if you need to find out why take a look at these facts about mental illness. It is one of the reasons we decided to put together a symposium. It will be a great day when mental health is understood and de- stigmatized.
If you want to see what we did last year you can can take a look at the pins below:
Below we hope you could make use of some of our resources. Feel free to use any and or all ideas. We need to work together to make this a better world for our youth.
Our Living Fully Alive advertisement can be found here.
Haiku decks for School Counsellors and students click below:
We need to teach students how to find their flow state and use it to keep themselves healthy. How do you get yourself into this state? For me one way is painting.
Our mental health wellness is a collaborative project that we began last year . The following documenthas a wealth of resources that we hope high schools, educators and school counsellors will use. It is an ongoing work in progress, so if you’d like to collaborate with us please feel free to tweet me @sspellmancann and join us on our journey as we pay attention to our own mental health as well as the mental health and wellness of others.
There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.
I am so fortunate to work with @NeilOF12 a great leader, and @ehordyskiluong ( my co-inspirer) I know that’s not a word, but she always works with me to inspire students and helps me with so many other projects and ideas. To Peter Damen who always has great ideas and is a fabulous School Counsellor ( who I am grateful is on our team ) thank you for who you are and all you do. To my fabulous colleagues who continue to inspire me by what they do and their comittment to education . I am grateful to work alongside you.
In 2015, I hope to see more Canadian School Counsellors on twitter. I look forward to celebrating and connecting with you. Thanks to those who have already taken a leadership role. See you in #SCCrowd #scchat and #cscchat.