Digital leaders are those who build others up. They are those who help other educators/people along their journey.
- Know that when you help someone else you help yourself.
- Are those who are not afraid to make a mistake and continually learn. You don’t need to be in the front lines to do that, you just need to share your experience and know that others have so much to teach you.
- Are responsible digital citizens themselves and demonstrate this so that students and other learners can know what this truly means.
Every person has an opportunity to be helpful … every person has an opportunity to collaborate … to make a difference … to celebrate the good works of others (student, teachers, parents, community members) … to be a digital leader means to learn and be a responsible digital citizen yourself. To truly care enough to enter the digital world so that you can as Alec Couros says “think together” and I would add learn together. It is never too late to learn to be a good digital leader yourself.
CC image by Catherine Cronin
School Counsellors are in an amazing position to be digital leaders to help students and others know the importance of digital citizenship . At BCHS we start every year with a grade 10 retreat where the School Counsellors present on Digital Citizenship . Throughout the year we discuss digital citizenship through our School twitter feed as well as through our Facebook pages. We ask students if we can use their pictures before we publish making sure they have signed the required consent. There are many great School Counsellors who are digital leaders . Just check out the hashtags #SCCrowd and #scchat.
We want our students to be excellent digital citizens, but we know that takes time , effort , patience and great role modelling by all staff and educators in general.
Fortunately I know many great digital leaders (too many to list here) which is a great thing , however I will list a few if you are just getting started :
Dr. Alec Couros @courosa
George Couros @gcouros
Dr. Erin Mason @ecmmason
Want to be a good digital leader? You can start today. It is never too late.
Today is full of endless possibilities. Never give up. Never give in. The world is full of opportunities. Live in the possible TODAY. BE YOURSELF Be the possible. Love every minute of life and the possibilities within the moments.
Live with NO regrets only of what is possible.
Make things happen.
If life knocks YOU down, pick yourself UP. Look for the possibilities.
Live really live. Breathe.
Live your LIFE the way YOU want to as if everything is possible.
You are in control of your own life. You choose which path you will take and the possibilities are the ones you choose for yourself. Live LOVE Laugh. Always have HOPE and believe in the possible.
Hope is essential.
Smiling is always more attractive than frowning when you think of all that is possible.
The smallest good deed is always better than the grandest good intention.
Do what you LOVE and be with the ones you love
YOU MATTER ALWAYS.
Life is full of endless possibilities.
Romance scammers may seem harmless to some, but it is far from harmless. It can affect a whole family and more as it has in this and other scams. This is a must read for everyone who cares about their own and others digital identity. We need to help my friend Alec Couros @courosa and his family. Please share on your blog twitter and on facebook.
This is something we need to learn about and teach all children. Read his blog post with Katie hildebrant on digital identity here.
This is a must read for all my PLN don’t just skim it read it. I know you care too. It can happen to anyone. Let’s help Alec who always helps others.
Picture taken by ASCA photographer
This was my second ASCA conference and it did not disappoint. Going to a conference when you have a PLN on twitter is a whole new experience and I’d have to say a much better one because you already know people before you get there. This makes the conference so much richer. Last year I went by by myself, but I was certainly not alone. It was a very special conference because I was going to surprise my friend Erin Mason. That memory will resonate with me for many years to come. It was a magical moment when I finally suprised her. You can check out my blog post from last year here.
Here are some of the highlights from this years conference:
- Connecting with other School Counsellors and friends especially my roomie Bridget @bridgethelms.
- Celebrating the book launching and signing of my friend Carol’s @tmscounselor new book Star Bound.
- The tweetup . Seeing people F2F is fabulous!
- Seeing my friend Ed.Jacobs . I never get tired of listening to him and @doc_schimmel present. They are amazing! If you have never checked out one of their sessions on Impact Therapy and groups you need to!
- Tim Schriver’s keynote was so inspirational and of course made me cry.
- Russ Sabella’s session on Ethics and School Counselling which inspired this post Privacy An Illusion.
- The collaboration and fun things to come… Ideas flow at conferences.
Here are a couple of videos from the conference:
If you haven’t been to an ASCA Conference go.Next year it is in New Orleans. Before you do connect with other School Counsellors in #SCCrowd , #scchat , #hscchat , #SCin30 and #escchat. Looking forward to seeing and connecting with you! Until then see you on twitter @sspellmancann on video in #SCin30 or in one of our monthly chats.
Want to donate to help someone be able to go to ASCA16 please donate here: Click on Jeremy’s twitter post.
A work in progress pressed publish, but will finish later … I think maybe it is time for a real vacation…
Great information about changes in the SAT. Many of our students go to US schools so this will be helpful for them.
I love Erin’s reflections and how she expresses her thoughts in a fun way about digital citizenship.
Participation in the #DCMOOC community has enlightened my views of the impact of the internet on myself, my students and our society.
I would like to say thank you to:
- Sue Waters for directing me towards the Edublogs teachers challege which provided me with practical tips and tricks for making the most of my personal blogging spaces.
- Alec Couros for organizing this amazing group, and recommending the read It`s Complicated
- Joanna Sanders for recommending the film Chef
- Katia Hildebrandt for moderating some very enlightening #dcmchat sessions.
- Eric Sheninger for reminding me to be my own PR through the sharing of the positive digital interactions in my own school.
- Matthew Johnson for sharing the excellent research and resources found in MediaSmarts
- To all my fellow educators who I will continue to connect with through our Google + Community. and our #DCMOOC hashtag.
- Dean Shareski for reminding me that “sound trumps…
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HAIKU DECK is a fantastic app to use for School Counsellors. It is no secret that I love this app. I love this app because it is easy to use and creates professional looking beautiful presentations that I can easily use in my counselling office or as a professional development tool that I can use in presentations with other school counsellors. Stunning visuals have the ability to evoke emotion, a powerful tool for school counsellors to utilize. By being an active champion of both learning and technology school counsellors can use Haiku Deck to create amazing visuals that not only assist students in learning , but they can actually help students.
If you would like to try the web app please click here: You are invited to try the Haiku Deck web app.
Click here to see this…
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This year I will be supervising another first year school counsellor, the difference being this time I want to blog about it so that I can help him as well as learn new things myself. I also hope this will help other new school counsellors in the process.
I absolutely love being a school counsellor. It is a career that I have never regretted choosing. I registered as a psychologist in 2007, and tested out private practice part time. The decision to do this helped me realize just how much I love being in a school helping students and connecting with educators. The work of a school counsellor fulfills me and makes me very happy. I love going to work every day. It is extremely rewarding because I know I can make a huge difference in the life of students and their families. I believe as school counsellors we can change the path that a student’s life will take to a more positive one.
I know that school counsellors can save lives by what they do . They can be the first person to assess that a serious concern exists and connect the family with resources that can change the lives of the student and their family for the better.
When a student walks into my office the first question I often ask is “ how can I help you today” ? I always want to be helpful. I believe that if we are not being helpful then we are not meeting the needs of our students. At the end of the session I usually ask what did we discuss today that will be helpful to you and what will you use as a result of our spending time together today.
As a school counsellor I want to be able to replace despair with hope and sadness with joy not unlike the words in the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.
I want the school counselling office to be a safe place for students to explore what isn’t working and find out how they can make things work in their lives. I like to focus on the strengths of the student. Often times students have told me they would not go to or do not like going to see counsellors. They say to me that being in my office is different ; meaning somehow I am different and that I don’t seem like the perception of what they think a “counsellor” is.
Now don’t get me wrong I have had students who did not like me. It is part of what happens as a school counsellor, teacher , educator or anyone in any profession and if that happens hopefully they will connect with the person who will be most helpful to them.
What do I believe are the important lessons a new school counsellor should know? These lessons will not be in order of importance, but are all lessons I feel are worthwhile being aware of. As the school year progresses I will continually add to this list.
Lesson #1: We can’t help everyone, but we can sure try to help the ones that come to us or are referred to us ( and sometimes we need to go to them).
Students will often disclose very serious issues that we as school counsellors need to address. Sometimes when we disclose to parents that their son or daughter is thinking of suicide or some other life threatening concern (the end result might be the student may never return to see you). Hopefully you have connected the student and their family to resources that can improve and indeed in some cases save their lives.
It is important for new school counsellors to not get discouraged if a student does not return to see you (don’t personalize it) it may just be that you have helped them a great deal, but are unaware of just how at that time. Students have stopped me in stores and other places years later to let me know what a difference I made. So hang in there knowing that you did what you needed to do. It is also important to be self aware, so also run by your concerns with another counsellor and see if indeed there was something else you could have done or ask what if anything could you have done differently. Remind yourself that you are in a process of learning. Consult… consult… consult… a lifelong lesson for ALL school counsellors.
It is also OK to recognize that you are NOT a match for every student. Hopefully there are other counsellors in your school or outside agencies that you can refer your student to if this happens. I let students know that they have a choice when it comes to counsellors and they need to see the person they feel most comfortable and safe with. Hopefully, that will be you ,but if not that is OK too.
Lesson # 2: We need to base what we do on theoretical perspectives that are useful and helpful. Humanists like Carl Rogers ,Victor Frankl have impacted me, but so to have others in the field of psychology like Albert Ellis, Irvin Yalom, Fritz Perls, Ed Jacobs, David Burns, Virginia Satir, Donald Meichenbaum, Claudia Black
and Mary Pipher to name a few. There is no one right approach. You need to discover what you believe and make sure it works for you and your students.
Each theorist has impacted the way I interact and help students. Along the way I have also worked with some amazing school counsellors , educators and supervisors who have also influenced me in a positive way. Thanks especially to Diane Williams, Deana Helton and Helen MacKinnon.
Lesson #3: Find great mentors and learn from them. One of my all time favorites is Ed Jacobs. Ed is a genuinely helpful man as well as being a great therapist. I love how he interacts and works with young and old people alike and makes a positive difference in the lives of others. Check him out on youtube here:
Lesson #4: There are so many people and resources you can learn from that can impact students in a positive way. I think Leo Buscaglia has the best lessons that can be used in counselling students. I can honestly say I loved Leo . He was and still is an inspiration to me. Which brings me to an extremely important lesson … lesson #5
Lesson #5: Continually professionally develop yourself. Keep learning and learning and learning. One of my new favorite ways to do this is to connect with other school counsellors worldwide on twitter. See my past post on amazing school counsellors and what they are doing. My twitter handle is @sspellmancann. If you are not on twitter sign up TODAY!
Lesson #6: Read great counselling books . A few I really like are : Impact Therapy by Ed. Jacobs, Creative Counselling Techniques by Ed. Jacobs, Group Counseling Strategies and Skills Jacobs, Masson, Harvill, Letters To A Young Therapist Mary Pipher, The Gift of Therapy Irvin Yalom, Mans Search for Meaning Victor Frankl
As I think about the lessons I believe a new counsellor should be thinking about I realize that there are some practical considerations that a new counsellor might want to implement. Here are a few:
What are some basics that could be helpful to you as a new school counsellor?
- Write an introduction letter to parents letting them know who you are and what you do and post it on the school counselling and school website. (If by chance your school does not have a website design a letter introducing yourself and put it in the school newsletter ( put it in the newsletter anyway.)
- Tweet this out to students on the school twitter account and post it to the school facebook account.
- Introduce yourself to as many teachers as you possibly can. In a large school, this will take time.
- Plan to meet with your administration team at THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR and least once a month. Celebrate what you do and how you are doing. Discuss what the expectations are of a Comprehensive School Counselling Plan and how you can work together to accomplish this.
- My plan this year is to implement a joint admin. counseling blog post at least four times throughout the school year. Counsellors and admin should be joint leaders in any school.
- Show initiative. Everyone in a school will benefit. If you have some great ideas don’t be afraid to share or try out your ideas.
- Discuss limits of confidentiality with every student. You might want to put a poster of the limits on your office wall.
- Visually make your office a space students want to be in.
- Develop a monthly calendar of things to do and check off when you complete them.
- Have a plan when meeting new students. It is helpful to get a cell phone number so that you can follow up especially in a self-directed High School.
- It might be helpful to keep a notebook of all the things you need to know especially if you are in a new school or counselling a new age group.
- You will want to find a simple and easy way to curate information. I use livebinders and pinterest. They can be extremely helpful tools for new counsellors as well as those that have been around for awhile.
- You need to be a positive PR person for the school counseling program , so find many ways to connect with students. Brainstorm with your colleagues ways to make connections with students so that they know who you are and what you do.
- Connect with parents. Let them know through parent council or other means what you do.
- Ask for help. You are not expected to know everything. Utilize the professionals inside and outside of your building for support.
- Learn as you go about the many community resources that are available and put them in a binder or livebinder
- Don’t be afraid to share your innovative or creative ideas with your counselling team ( if you have one). They and you will benefit!
- BALANCE we all benefit from taking care of ourselves. Don’t burn yourself out in the first year. Practice self-care.
- You have a big learning curve. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF.
I am adding one of my live binders called school counsellor resources. Please as in all my livebinders take what you like and leave the rest.
As I learn along with my new school counsellor I will be sharing any insights that we both might have. For all of you who are new to school counselling have a wonderful experience and know that what you do absolutely matters.
Welcome to the best profession in the world school counselling.
As the year comes to a close I reflect on the privilege I have to work with so many great people who care about youth. Please listen to the inspiring words of our school chaplain as she shares her year end message to students at Bishop Carroll High School.
Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they?
Each of us is a sacred word spoken by God, called by name, chosen before birth, imprinted with a one-of-a-kind genetic code and finger prints, and given a mission belonging only to us.
Each of us has a unique history, collection of relationships, encounters, events, challenges, successes, gifts and talents that bring us to this moment and make us who we are now. Each of us is a person unlike anyone else who has come before or is to come. Metaphorically, we are indeed birds of a different feather.
As I reflect on our year just past, the image of a flock of geese during their migration flight comes to mind. A leader emerges to take the front position of the V, while others fall in behind to take advantage of the wind lift in those positions. When the leader tires, that individual drops back and another takes over. Leaders always emerge and are appreciated. If one member of the flock cannot fly due to illness or advanced age, another stays behind to be with this member until health returns and both are able to continue the journey with another flock. No individual is left alone, none are left behind. In the case of death, the companion grieves and then joins another migrating group. New members are always welcome, just as they are. As the verse from Matthew’s gospel states, the birds of the flock and all the members of the community are valuable and valued.
This sounds a lot like Bishop Carroll High School. We are the Cardinals, and what a flock we have become! We may soar, flap, swoop, swim, waddle, squawk, screech, sing, whistle, honk, but together we manage to create beautiful sounds and sights and movements.
We are artists, actors, athletes, intellectuals, designers, builders, humorists, writers, academics, mentors, friends. We are people of justice. We are concerned about our environment. We are lovers of the arts and supporters of the poor. We are people of prayer and faith. We love to celebrate, play, cheer and dance together. We mourn together, cry for one another, and lift each other up. Among us, leaders emerge and are appreciated. No individual is left alone, none are left behind. New members are always welcome just as they are. All are valuable and valued. We really are a community that lives and grows on the foundation of the gospel, loving others as we have been loved, always in the presence of God.
As you continue in your Bishop Carroll days and beyond, it is my hope that you will take to heart your role in the “flock”, participate in building the reign of God and encourage those around you to do the same. May the word of God inspire you.
“For as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace.” (Isaiah 55: 10-12a)
Barb Fabijan-Waddell, Chaplain