What We Say and Do Matters

People have been asking me if I am really serious about retirement and yes I am , but that doesn’t mean I don’t really love my job anymore . I absolutely do. I plan on making this year great! Why? Because each and every day I work with students and what I say and do matters.

I am far from perfect, but I really try my best to help students and create a positive environment in the school I work in.  I love collaborating with educators and others that I know truly care.

I am often reminded that what I say and do matters and that is a scary and awesome responsibility. I never want to hurt a child or anyone for that matter, but I am human and I make mistakes . When I do I need to say sorry , make amends and do my best each and every day to be the best person I can be. I also recognize that I can be that one person who changes the trajectory of a students life , making a positive difference that they remember for a lifetime.

Does what you say and do matter?  … you bet. Students are watching us daily … so as I enter my retirement year I want my students to know that I love what I do and will continue to do so until the day I retire. I love being with them and helping them as much as I possibly can. I look forward to this year and will treasure the memories I make with each and every person that crosses my path.

What I Say and Do Matters  … and so does what you say and do.

Jumping for Joy… as I walk into my retirement year

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Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain  … To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.

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Every day no matter the situation I try very hard to embrace life. No matter what is happening in my world and yes there are always things, sometimes big things , sometimes little things as most of us experience the challenges that life can bring our way.  I work hard at focusing on the things that matter, but like all humans sometimes I fall short. I love to celebrate the moments.

Being around a lot of others this summer that are less mobile than I , I focus on remembering to be grateful. I have two feet that are mobile, I am able to walk ! Sometimes we take these things for granted. I am able to jump for joy. Even though I cannot jump very high these days I still can jump. So every chance I get I jump for joy.

As I get ready to walk into a new school year , my retirement year. I look forward to the joy of new students and those that are returning. I jump for joy as I celebrate with students the new moments and for me the new chapter to come. I plan on walking through my retirement year with joy , gratitude and revelling in the moments that bring me and others true pleasure!

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Life can take a turn in a minute for each of us, so celebrate each day … jump for joy , take a walk . If you are unable to walk, let someone take you for a walk.  Notice and celebrate all the reasons to experience joy even if it is only in the moment . Do it now!

I’d love to hear all the reasons you will jump for joy this year !

Reflections of a School Counsellor

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

September

  • George Couros MOOC . You may want to join us.

  • Supervise and mentor a new School Counsellor ( I have been doing this for years ). My way to give back while continuing to learn.

October

  • Start a Ted X Youth Club with my fabulous colleague Amy Webster @AmyNoraWebster . We look forward to the many wonderful things our students will create.
  • Working with Empowering Minds  EMLeadership and the most fabulous Cleopatra to create Leadership opportunities for students.
  • Continue to work and create ideas with Connex support.

Sept. to June

  • Continue to work with students to develop ideas around  anti. bullying #whosfrankyyc #carrollculture . Click here  for more information.
  • Continue to refine and work on our book Colour Your Way To A Healthy Mind : High School Students Creating Change  Would love to find a publisher . Anyone interested? 

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  • Once a month do a therapeutic Art workshop . Themes to be decided.

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  • Have our second Grad Walk . It was so much fun!

 

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!

Celebrating What We Do

As School Counsellors we need to be leaders in celebrating what students do as well as what we do for students.

The past month has been a wonderfully busy month for us at school. It started off with our Who’s Frank #whosfrankyyc bake sale and the elephant in the room.

A big thanks to our Principal and fabulous leader @neilof12 who truly helped spread the anti. bullying message by being Frank.

Then came our Mental Health symposium again run by student leaders who I am always in awe of and so proud of the work they do.

A special thanks to @courosa for joining us virtually and to @brettrothery for sharing his courageous story.

We are also partners with Mount Royal University so I had the pleasure of moderating a panel on sexual violence. Such an important topic !

Next it was Career Speed dating where we had 37 guests share what they were passionate about and the process it took them to get there.

Thanks for coming Verena and bringing your husband. Community members who care!

So School Counsellors celebrate. Share what it is you do because together we are better and can make a difference.

I look forward to you seeing the book we have collaborated in creating Colour Your Way To A Healthy Mind High School Students Creating Change.  Coming soon to BCHS as well as our book made with grade 3’s Adventures of Frank at St. James. We can’t wait to share them with you.

 

Creativity Courage and Collaboration

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Creativity, courage and collaboration three words that speak loudly to me this year. Allowing yourself to be who you are without fear. That is what International Dot Day is all about. Expressing yourself through the arts is a way to reach the flow state. Learning to let go and not worry about mistakes is part of the process. To be in the moment and to let your creativity flow isn’t always easy and I am working hard at truly letting go this year. That is what I love about Art and the creating of it. It is freeing and helpful for both students and their School Counsellors. It is only in the last three years that I have let go of my fears around creating and openly sharing.

Peter Reynolds is such an inspiration in allowing students to find that special creativity in them and making their mark. He’s also great at encouraging adults.

If you haven’t heard of dot day or his books . Enjoy him reading The Dot below:

What is International Dot Day ? ” A global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration” They really are three C’s that I like a lot.

So in true collaboration starting with my friends I sent them this message. Please send me a picture that YOU took that YOU love that you don’t mind sharing on the internet for a project I am doing.

I needed to share these in a dot,and I did not know of an app that I could put pictures in a circle, so again I reached out in collaborative style .

A great choice for an app, so helpful thanks for the response Alec. I downloaded the app and love it! It did lead me down memory lane wanting to share some great memories and pics that I have.

So how can you involve a lot of people in a short amount of time? Send them a message and create dots. I love these dots. They are interesting,unique and tell a story. They each speak to my heart because I love these people. Each one of these dots that I have received and connected with I will treasure forever. Those that are still thinking about sending me pics please do I am waiting to create your dot.

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Celebrating Dot Day with MaryBeth Mulligan

According to Alain De Botton, ” we are very vulnerable, fragile creatures in desperate need of support and we generally don’t get it. … Art [can be] a source of help with our problems — our innermost problems — the problems of the soul. . . . Art can be a form of self-help and there is nothing demeaning about the concept of self-help — only the way in which some of self-help has been done so far, but there is nothing wrong with it as a concept. . . There is nothing wrong with [art today]. It’s not the art that’s the problem — it’s the frame around the art. We are simply not encouraged to bring ourselves to works of art. . . . The impact of art is often not what it should be because the frame is wrong.”

These fabulous photos above allow my friends to bring themselves into their works of art.

In the last page of his book Living, Loving and Learning Leo Buscaglia one of my all-time favourite authors so beautifully says wonderful things about risk in love and in life.

“To love is to risk not being loved in return. And that’s alright too. You love to love,not to get something back, or it isn’t love. To hope is to risk pain. And, to try is to risk failure. But risk must be taken,because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing .”

“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot
learn, feel, change, grow or love.
Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom.

Only the person who risks is truly free.” and most importantly he says ” To keep you hidden ,to lose you because of self-defeating ideas is to die. Don’t let that happen.

Your greatest responsibility is to become everything that you are,not only for your benefit,but for mine.

Thanks to all of you who took risks today by sharing your pic when you really did not know why you were sharing, You did it for me and I adore that you trusted me to share your fabulous pieces of Art on this special International Dot Day. Who knows of the many ways we are connected? Today we are connected by dots and have each made our mark. Thanks for sharing and I Iook forward to finding out the stories behind the pictures and if some of you meet each other your dots will be a way to connect . Such fun!

I asked my Teacher Advisory group to pick a picture that they love from their phone that they took . Some of their fabulous pics are below. Then I asked them to share their pic and tell the story behind it with their classmates. What a fun way to get to know more about each other.

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The world is already a better place because you have left your mark my friends! Haven’t shared a pic with me please do  anytime. I look forward to seeing your dot!

Love you love your dots! #dotday15

Last but most special … Celebrating the amazing Leena Luong grade 2 daughter of @ehordyskiluong

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Counsellor Thoughts

Thoughts From Your School Counsellors

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As school counsellors, there are some very important things we wish to share with you.

You are the reason we do what we do

We care; we mean really care about teenagers. We do our best to touch as many students as we can, being advocates for you in school. We feel you have a right to know why we do what we do. We are counsellors by choice. Some of the things we have to do are difficult, but we choose to be here.

We are here because we believe we can help

As your School Counsellors, we have several roles. Even if we get caught up doing several things at once, our hearts are always with you, the student.

What you do with your life is up to you

You are in charge of you. We are here to help you reach your full potential. We will insist that you learn. It is your ticket to absolute freedom.

Be all that you can be

It isn’t easy being a teenager; even we can get frustrated with your raging hormones. You are growing and changing. We understand that. Take responsibility for your life and your actions and your teachers and others will respect you.

We do care, don’t ever forget it

That’s why we are here

That’s why we choose to do what we do

We will help in any way we can. We may get you support with a mentor, another counsellor or whomever can help us help you.

Stop … Think … Speak

Remember, your thoughts lead to feelings lead to your actions. Change your thinking and you will have control of your life.

No matter what anyone else says or does to you, you are a worthwhile person

Truly  you are a gift

You are somebody

You deserve dignity and respect

 

There will be times during your school experience where negative things are said or done to you. You may experience painful times. Life can be difficult. It’s not what happens in your life that matters, but how you choose to respond to it and we are here to help.

What you put into school is what you will get out of it

With your help, we can make a difference. If you choose to share a part of yourself with us, we can work together to make changes in your life. Your school experience will become everything you hoped it could be. Get involved and you will feel better about yourself.

Give life a chance

One of the easiest things to say and one of the most difficult things to do are to live one day at a time. If you can master letting go of the past, not worrying about the future, but living each day to the fullest, then you will have lived a great life full of few regrets.

Be patient

Change takes time. Let yourself grow. We all can change if we have the courage and the wisdom.

We have faith in you

Never give up! Have Hope! Live every moment to the fullest! Become all that you are meant to be and you pay it forward to others.

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School Counsellor Voice

The first week of School Counsellor in 30 #SCin30 is almost over , but School Counsellors feel free to post anytime. I loved being able to see you in the videos and so look forward to hearing more from you in the weeks and months to come. If you haven’t added a question or a video please do so and I will add here at a later date.

Thanks George Couros for your support and kickstarting the idea!

Take a look at some of the great posts and consider adding your own:

So happy to have input from Australia. Thanks Kadri.

I sure hope School Counsellors from across the world will be inspired to join us on this journey. We look forward to keeping this going for a long time so that we can truly connect and learn from and with each other. Thanks so much for joining in to this vlogging experience. I know you are all so busy, but appreciate all your efforts to share your voice in #SCin30  #SCin30 Q1

Q2: Submitted by George Couros is How do you see the role of School Counsellor changing?

Add your questions to our google doc here. Thanks so much for collaborating! See you in #SCin30.

School Counselling in 30 #SCin30

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A Haiku Deck #SCin30

Twitter and great educators often inspire new ideas and this time it was no exception.  I came upon a tweet by George Couros a while back, and for those School Counsellors who don’t know @gcouros ,  he is a Principal , Educator , leader , inspiration and thought provoker. Really , he is a Canadian educator, an everyday person who cares.

I loved reading his blog post on his new project #EDUin30 it is such a fabulous idea. You and I can now share 30 second videos on twitter by simply taking our phone, videoing our thoughts and sharing them on twitter in a tweet.

Need a few great examples. Check them out here.

I know videoing yourself is not an easy thing to do as I did this in a vlogging project called #openspokes for a couple of years . Believe me putting myself out there wasn’t easy at first. It definitely made me reach outside my comfort zone.  Making a video for longer that 30 seconds is a big commitment, but sharing our thoughts in 30 seconds is something we could all most likely sustain. So I invite all School Counsellors from around the world to share , to learn, to grow and to collaborate with me in this project . I am excited to get started and would be so honoured if you would join me on this journey.

For those of you with an iPhone here is the step by step guide

1) Go to your camera – move your cursor over to video .

2) Press the big red dot and Press play answering your question. You can see my sample below only I uploaded to youtube this time.

3) Go to twitter.  Press the feather at the top as if you were writing a post.

4) Then below go to your camera and post your video. As long as it is less than 30 seconds it will post directly to twitter.

5) Voila YOU DID IT! Don’t forget to add the two hash tags #SCin30 and #SCin30 Q1 etc. . It’s really that easy.

6) Thanks for sharing and I look forward to posting and learning with you.

School Counsellor in 30. #SCin30.

Instead of breaking the hashtag as #EDUin 30 does I prefer to use weeks. I thought it would work if we do it in questions. Question 1  : #SCin30Q1

Why did you become a School Counsellor? #SCin30Q1, so when you post your first video and I so look forward to it please post to two hastags #SCin30 and #SCin30Q1 or on whatever question we are on at the time of posting.

I would also love if you would add some questions you would like to see in this collaborative google doc.

My goal is to get at least 100 questions that we all collaborate on and answer related to School Counselling and a School Counsellors unique perspective . I would also encourage School Counsellor educators and School Counselling students to join in.

WHY DO THIS?

As George said to make reflection a part of our work. I hope this will also help us to inspire each other and create new ideas. As School Counsellors many of you feel isolated as you often work alone in your schools without other School Counsellors to bounce ideas off of. This is another way to share that can help us to feel connected, be better , do better and most importantly find ways to help our students. I think there are many great things that can happen as a result of sharing this way. Let’s see what happens? Won’t YOU join me?.

Thank you George for doing what you do and inspiring educators to make a difference. Grateful that you do!

Thanks for spreading the word!

Canadian School Counselling Week … A time to celebrate what you do #cscchat

School Counsellors all over Canada are making a difference. I want to share what you do!! 

I 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 .

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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 susanspellmancann@gmail.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 Canada doing 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.

You can tell they love their School Counsellors

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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.

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jpeg Alberta School Counsellors are also doing amazing things . Check out their website here . Proclamation Canadian School Counselling Week.

 Proclamation from CCPA for School Counselling Week

WHEREAS, school counsellors are employed in public and private schools to help students reach their full potential; and   WHEREAS, school counsellors are actively committed to helping students explore their abilities, strengths, interests, and talents as these traits relate to career awareness and development; and   WHEREAS, school counsellors help parents focus on ways to further the educational, personal and social growth of their children; and   WHEREAS, school counsellors work with teachers and other educators to help students explore their potential and set realistic goals for themselves; and   WHEREAS, school counsellors seek to identify and utilize community resources that can enhance and complement comprehensive school counselling programs and help students become productive members of society; and   WHEREAS, comprehensive developmental school counselling programs are considered an integral part of the educational process that enables all students to achieve success in school;   Therefore, I, ___________________________________ do hereby proclaim February 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.

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2014 A Year To Remember

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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.

– Mark Twain

Thanks to a post by my fellow #etmooc ‘er Helen Blunden @activatelearn. I was inspired to write this post.

My most viewed posts of 2014

1. Career Speed Dating

2. Ten Reasons to Live

3. Hope In My Idea School

4. Putting Passion Into Practice

5. School Counsellors Connecting

6. Children of Alcoholics School Counsellors Can Help

7. OCLMOOC: SChool Counsellors Joining In And You Can Too

8. Connections Have Transformed Me

9. Conference With A Difference

10. Lessons For A New School Counsellor

Wishing my PLN a fantastic 2015 and hoping you and your families enjoy all the blessings of life.

          LOVE THIS TWEET : Something we all should practice in 2015

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.                                        

GO MAKE A DIFFERENCE in 2015