The Effect You Have As A School Counsellor Is Not Always Measurable

Cq4QzbFUkAEiZCS.jpg-largeYou have them , I have had them. You know that student that you had no idea you had such an impact on, but they let you know years later. Sometimes 36 years later as I did two years ago. A young man came into the office at the High School I was working in at the time. He wanted to see me to tell me how I had influenced his life. He had googled me and tracked me down because he wanted to tell me his story . I am grateful he did as I would have never known that I had affected his life in the way he let me know I had.

I have been blessed with letters and notes from students who have told me they believed I had saved their life. It is an honour and privilege that they believe something I said or did had impacted them in such a positive way. More often than not we don’t get these notes, calls or letters and we may not know the impact we have had on students. Not because we did not , but because the person may not have put their thoughts to words for whatever reason.

A couple of days ago one of my best friends who is also a retired School Counsellor , got one of those notes from a student whom she had known 18 years ago. The note was from a young woman reporting she was now happily married with two children , She told my friend that she was the reason she was alive, happy and successful today. She let her know it was World Suicide Prevention Day and that maybe my friend would like to know the impact she had on her life when she was in High School.

The woman had tracked my friend down on Facebook and felt compelled to write her the beautiful moving, heartfelt note (I’m purposefully leaving out the details, but trust me we both cried a lot reading it) . Of course she had no idea that particular student felt that way. So what a gift it was to receive a note like this. It is truly why we do what we do choosing to be in education.

If one young person is impacted in this way by what we have said or done, then our years of dedication to a career we have loved is all worth while. We both agreed that we were so fortunate to work in schools with amazing young people and feel truly blessed to have had a career we both were passionate about.

So many still do not fully understand what a School Counsellor does behind closed doors, but know and trust that you need to keep doing what you are doing as a School Counselor wherever you are in the world. You can never know the impact you can have. Small gestures and words can matter.

The effect you have as a School Counsellor is not always measurable , but that does not matter. What you say and do everyday does.

The Ending Of Summer

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As professionals in schools we certainly need down time more than most people know or can truly understand. This summer has been outstanding for me and I hope it has for you as well. I hope you have had the rest you deserve as it will impact your students for this upcoming year in a positive way.

This is my second year not going back to school in September and it does feel strange. I love school and always have. I guess that is why I have been in school, teaching school, volunteering and counselling in schools for 55 years. How fortunate am I to have had so much time surrounded by young people and the energy that they and being in schools bring.

As you head into your buildings as an educator or counsellor remind yourself of why you chose this profession. September can be a very stressful time not only for students, but for educators. So take time to think …

  • Just for Today I will be the one to help
  • Just for Today I will make a difference in a student’s life
  • Just for Today I will look for the good in everyone in my building
  • Just for today I will know that I am meant to be in the school this year helping these students
  • Just for Today I will treat myself and those around me with kindness and compassion
  • Just for Today I have a purpose

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The summer may have ended , but a new exciting school year is about to begin one that can change the trajectory of a student’s life. For one child it may mean saving their life. For another you may be the first adult who has ever heard their story and been able to help. For you it may mean that your life has a renewed purpose one you can most certainly be grateful for. Yes, the summer may be ending, but for you it is the beginning of a new school year. Enjoy!

SCCHAT … getting ready for an exciting School Year

 

IMG_0030If you don’t know what #SCCHAT is . It is an International School Counsellor Chat that runs from Sept. – June 6:30 MT 8:30 ET . It was founded by the amazing Erin Mason @ecmmason in 2011. You can post in #scchat all year-long at any time of the day no matter where in the world you live. We’d love to get to know you.

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  • We are happy to have you join us this year and if you want to tell us a bit more about yourself please click here.
  • If you would like to learn more about our co-moderators this year please click here.
  • We are wanting to get to know you better so one way to do that is to add your video to flipgrid. You can do that here . 

We have some great topics . Mark your calendars and join in!

MONTH TOPIC Co – moderators
SEPTEMBER 5th 2018 The School Counselor’s Role in Suicide Intervention and Postvention Look for these in September
OCTOBER  3rd 2018 Relationships/Rapport w/ Students, Teachers and Parents
NOVEMBER 7th 2018 Bullying Prevention

“Promoting Positivity & Self-Esteem in a World of…

DECEMBER 5th 2018 Collaborating with Other Professionals in Your Building
JANUARY  2nd 2019 Counselor as Leaders: How do you Advocate for your School Counseling Program?
FEBRUARY  6th 2019 Celebrate School Counseling! (special invite for grad students)
MARCH 6 th 2019 Equity in School Counseling
APRIL 3rd 2019 Developing Positive Relationships with Challenging Students
MAY 1st 2019 The 21st Century Counselor
JUNE 5th 2019 Celebrating Our Year

 

We are so excited to get to know and celebrate you all year-long! You are doing amazing life changing work, so keep it up!

Walk Along With Me

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I have a couple of important goals this year and I plan on making my learning visible. This is not the typical Counsellor Talk post I write , but it is an important one … taking care of me and I’m inviting you along on this journey. Today is Canada Day and what better day to start walking my way to a healthier me while sharing and learning along the way.

IMG_0026I am making a commitment to myself to walk every day for 30 minutes for the next 365 days. Walking has always allowed me to think more clearly and I know I always feel better when I do. It may sound easy to many of you , but I don’t always commit to exercising every single day. without a break.   If I break it down into chunks 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at some other time in the day I know I can meet my goal. It isn’t easy to do this alone ( I miss my walking partners)  so that is why I am inviting you on my journey.

If you wish to send an encouraging word or a video or a message to me along the way feel free to do so. I turn 60 this September so I know I need to take better care of myself.  Taking care of our physical health is always important , but even more so as we age.  I have always been very good at taking care of my brain , but at times have not taken as much care of my body as I know I need to. This is my open way of sharing my commitment to myself. No excuses! It’s too cold , I’m too busy … on and on ! 365 days starting today … I can do it!

Won’t you walk along with me #walkalongwithme  and tell me what you have learned along the way?

How We Connect

 

How we connect is not always how we think we should connect. There is not always one way that we can connect, but for sure however we connect we need to be kind and generous , caring and real.

Finding ways to connect face to face in a positive way is a  great place to start. Learn to listen,  observe , engage , in as many ways that you can. Connecting with others takes time , be patient and recognize that just because you don’t necessarily connect with one person that does not mean you cannot connect with another person in a more meaningful way.

  • Be yourself

Recognize that those who you will become lifelong friends or partners with will accept you for who you are .

  • Face your fears 

Find ways to let go of your fears and start a conversation, ask questions or find what you have in common . You may do this both F2F and online.

  • Look beyond what you see

We are complex beings and if you give others a real chance to get to know them then you may find that they are so much more than what you first see.

  • Open your heart

Yes, you might get hurt, but when you open yourself to new friendships or relationships your world can open like never before and you are never the same.

  • All relationships are about give and take

Sometimes you will give more than your friend or partner does , but that is ok .  At some point in your relationship they may give more. It’s all about the give and the take.

  • Connecting today may take many forms

Not all connecting online is a bad thing. Connect in the right ways with the right people and you may discover you develop friendships and relationships that are rich and rewarding and could last a lifetime.

  • Trust your instincts

If you see red flags online or off trust those gut feelings and take action . Not all connections are healthy. Do you respect the other person ? Do they respect you? Do you know what a healthy relationship looks like ? Learn more here.

  • Work on yourself

Be the kind of person that you want a friend or partner to be. Being a good human being is a lifelong endeavour. Always reflect on who you are and who you want to be.

Finding and maintaining healthy relationships is often the key to much happiness in life. Connecting online or off in a healthy way can improve your life. Connecting in a negative way can ruin your life. Look forward to the many ways that you can positively connect with others throughout life knowing that true connections can lift you up making you a better and happier person.  How we connect with others truly matters .

 

 

Resources : Suicide Prevention

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in light of recent suicides here are some important resources :

Canada now has one toll free hotline

Canada’s toll free suicide prevention hotline: 1-833-456-4566 – chat & text 45645 / Quebec 1 866 APPELLE (277 3553) Crisis Services Canada

Hotlines and websites:

If you, or someone you know is struggling and at risk, here are support resources:

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Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

CANADAhttp://suicideprevention.ca/thinking-about-suicide/find-a-crisis-centre/ – select province/territory

U.S.NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE 1-800-273-8255 suicide prevention lifeline

USA crisis text line . Click here

WORLDWIDEbefrienders – enter country in search box at top of page

List of suicide crisis lines across the world Wikipedia Click here.

Check out this page Need to Talk.

Online support

at UNSUICIDE http://www.unsuicide.wikispaces.com/Online+Suicide+Help Click here.

Threats of suicide on social networks. Find out more information by clicking here.

Reporting concerns re: suicide:

Twitter

On Twitter Click here. and  here. 

Facebook

On Facebook Click here.

WordPress

On WordPress Click here.

YouTube

On Youtube Click here

Instagram

Click on  suicide and self harm prevention resources

Snapchat

Snapchat has a list of suicide prevention resources grouped by country.  You can click the  support form to report concerns.

More Resources for School Counsellors

  • School Counsellors Click here.
  • Mental Health Resources Click here .

Perseverance

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Who hasn’t felt like giving up at one point or another?  I know I have . It isn’t easy sometimes to do the things you want to do, but don’t feel completely ready. It isn’t easy to view failure as an opportunity . To push forward and never give up despite the odds sounds easier than it is. It isn’t easy to embrace the struggle, recognizing that no matter how long it takes you will still strive to move forward.

I love these pics taken today by the University of Regina President @ vianne_timmons .  They tell a real story that needs no words. Perseverance … it makes me never want to give up !

You can check out my haiku deck to see the pics more clearly … just click on the link in my tweet.