Lessons For A New School Counsellor Post #2

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Every September I forget just how unbelievably busy a school can be and most school counsellors are not just counselling they have several other responsibilities. That is an important lesson for all school counsellors. Be aware of all that you may be asked to do.

Here are some new lessons. Lessons 1-6  are here.

Lesson #7

Be patient with yourself. It takes time to learn all the things you have to know as a school counsellor and often times you have several roles to play. You may be in a classroom part time teaching and attempting to do a full time job at counselling even though you are half time counselling /half time teaching. You can’t do and be everything for everybody.

Lesson #8

Lists help. Having lists will help you do and follow up on all the activities you are responsible for.

Lesson #9

Technology helps. This year we have a master calendar for all our counselling activities on Outlook. Each calendar is synched with our counselling Admin. Assistant and she makes sure it is coordinated. We discuss our monthly activities in our weekly Counselling team meetings. This keeps us all on track and aware of what is happening. We utilize technology in numerous ways in which I will discuss over the course of the school year.

This year in September we held three different seminars . One on Digital Citizenship, four on Counselling and one on scholarship information for students in grade 12 . Throughout the year we will offer several more.

The first was held at our grade 10 retreat with four hundred new grade 10’s and I will post more on that later.

The second was held in our computer room where we discussed :

  • What school counsellors do
  • What services we offer
  • Confidentiality and the limits
  • Resources we have available like our school counselling website, our counselling course that we offer on D2L, our school twitter site and our school facebook page

The third will be held in the computer lab with access to a fantastic livebinder.

Here are some links you may get some ideas from:

http://www.haikudeck.com/p/seBRTsh6wd/digital-citizenship-bchs

https://sspellmancann.jux.com

http://www.haikudeck.com/p/L1wGnD3MT0/what-high-school-students-need-to-know

Scholarships, Student Loans, Occupational Information livebinders.com/play/play/830830

 

Lesson #10

All school counsellors should be trained in suicide prevention and if they are not they should be trained in their Masters programs. School Counsellors often have to assess for the risk of suicide. Yes, even in the first few days of school when students are back in September. School Counsellors need to be prepared to ask for assistance if they are not trained. This is not something you should handle alone. It can be very scary when a student says they are thinking about suicide and you are not trained to know what to do. Even when you are trained well it can feel overwhelming and so it is important to debrief with another counsellor. In our district all school counselors have to train every two years as well as do a refresher course. This is so important for our students at risk. School counsellors can and do save lives.

As I reflect on the work we do, I think about what we do and how important our role as school counsellors are. Exhausting at times, but so worthwhile. To all new counsellors hang in there. It is and has been the most rewarding career for me. I still love what I do in year 33.

Marc’s reflection on his first weeks as a high school counsellor:

Starting a practicum placement is intimidating.  I am fighting the  presence of ‘imposter syndrome’, feeling somewhat ill-prepared and anxious, hoping that my lack of experience is not apparent to the students or staff in my words or behaviour.  I am fortunate to be in a familiar environment with a supportive supervisor and colleagues, but it will take time to feel comfortable and confident.

It’s been a steep learning curve at my practicum placement.  At first, I was frustrated because the established counsellors were busy with a full schedule of student clients, while I had a slow trickle.

While I recognized that some students may prefer a veteran counsellor, I soon realised this disparity in appointments was primarily due to the students’ unfamiliarity with me, rather than an indication of their perception of my competence or a sneak preview of my upcoming caseload.  The number of students coming for appointments has picked up, but I have come to appreciate any opportunity I have to reflect, consult, complete documentation, or catch up on additional work.  Further, after having an experience assessing an at-risk student, I’ve learned that a gradual immersion into client contact allows me to build competence and confidence at a comfortable pace.  I was not ready to assess this particular client, and missed several key aspects of the necessary process.  It was a good learning experience, helping me to remember the importance of policy and training, but also to pace myself and appreciate any lighter schedules.

 

What I Want My Children To Know…

This summer as in every summer for the past thirty-four years I have come home to Nova Scotia.  As usual when I slow down I have time to reflect. This summer though I have a purpose to reflect because  I am in an open educators vlogging group called openspokes.

In openspokes  we pick topics to discuss and through vlogging we reflect on the topic of the week  with each other. This summers topic is a big and tough one. What do I want my students and / or my own children to know before I die? Even saying that can be scary to me. There are so, so many things I want them to know before I die and I hope I will I have the time in life to tell them.  I know they will learn so many lessons from others, but I want my legacy to be a positive one … so this question feels extremely important to me. It is different from what do I want to do before I die as that is easier. At least for me it is.

I have thought a lot about what I think my own purpose in life is. Being in Nova Scotia makes me understand how I became who I am as this is where I was born.  So many things and people have shaped me into the person I am today. I grew up on a forces base and as a result I have great lifelong friends. We are still connected to this day. I want my children to know that it is important to nurture lifelong friendships. These friendships are amazing and bring so many gifts to your life.  It is so fun to reminisce and remember things we did as kids and make new memories as adults. Our friendships have stood the test of time.”You become the average of the five people you hang out with says ” Drew Houston, CEO, Dropbox. and I have hung around the best of the best people throughout my life. I have wonderful friendships from coast to coast and beyond. I have made friendships in my adulthood that bring me great happiness and are life sustaining. They are a gift in my life that I am unbelievably grateful for.

In regards to my own purpose in life, I believe it is to help young people discover their gifts and talents and to help them navigate through the tough parts of their life ,so that they discover that they too have a purpose. I want young people to trust the process and not be afraid to ask for help if they get lost along the way. I chose to be a school counsellor which has helped me live every day what I believe to be my true calling in life. I also want to be able to help school counsellors and blogging makes it much easier to do so. I can help them with ideas and resources.  If anything I write in my blog or say in a vlog that I do helps school counsellors, it will make me very happy.

I want my own children to choose a career they will love as I have . If they follow their passions I know they will be happy in life and meet fantatstic people who will enhance  and enrich their lives. I am so grateful to go to work and absolutely love what I do each and every day since 1980.

What are some of the TOP things I want my own children to know:

  • You are and were wanted and loved
  • You make life better by being in it
  • You have a purpose
  • I am very grateful for all you have taught me
  • You keep me real
  • Find yourself … then find your own true love and be committed to enhancing your and their life
  • Enjoy every stage of your life
  • Life will have extremely difficult parts, but you can find the strength to get through all the tough times …a sk for help
  • Have faith
  • Make a difference
  • Help yourself … help others
  • Take care of yourself … take care of others
  • Hugs heal
  • Face your fears and take healthy risks
  • Live every day to the fullest
  • Never take anything for granted
  • You are never too old to learn
  • Celebrate the small stuff
  • Travel and get a better world view
  • Read, read, read
  • Learn.  learn, learn
  • Connect, connect, connect
  • Connect with positive people. Make great memories together
  • Laugh often
  • Be active throughout your life
  • There is no place like home
  • Please forgive me for the crazy mistakes I made along the way…  parenting is not easy

I want my own children to know that I have had an amazing life. Not a life without struggles, but a life I am grateful for . I am grateful for all that I have and all that I am able to do. I want my children to know that their dad has always treated me with respect and love. He has been a fantastic role model for them and a loving husband to me. He is an extremely good human being and that is what makes a great partner. They need to always remember that who they choose in life can be one of the biggest predictors of lifetime happiness. For me that has held true . I hope that it is true for them too.

I want my own children to always have HOPE. It will get them through the really tough times in life. I also  want my children to understand that life is what you make it. Take responsibility for everything you do in life and if you really want to do something in life. … make it happen …  it is up to you!

There is no way to put in words all the things I want my children to know, but I hope when they are old and grey they can look back at my vlogs with a little joy , laugh a little and recognize that part of the reason I did vlogs and blogs was to be a model for them , so that they could learn to take positive risks and become good citizens themselves.

I want so many things for my own children. I want them to know it is OK to make mistakes and fail.There is no shame in that. This blogging and vlogging experience has been full of mistakes and learning.  I have mde several mistakes in life, but I feel I have always learned from them and as a result I have become a better person.

I want them to know that I have loved and lost and found a lifetime of love. I want them to know I treasure all our memories together and feel so blessed to enjoy each and every day that I live on this planet.  I so look forward to the many memories that we we will create in the years to come. I love my children so very, very much. They mean everything to me. There are no words to describe how much I love them … I wish there were.

I want my children to have the best life possible one that they and their children can look back on and say they are proud of the life they had.  I hope they will feel they were blessed because they were a part of a family that they could respect and most importantly know they that were fully loved beyond measure and treasured their whole life long.

There are just so many things I want my children to know…

What Is Really Important In Life

Shouldn’t we teach all students as if they were Zach? In #openspokes we have been discussing what is important to teach our young people. I believe Zach’s message of hope is one all teachers as well as students can learn from. At the heart of teaching should be teaching from the heart and Zach tells us what is really important in life. As a school counsellor these are the lessons that really matter to me. Lessons like those from  Zach that truly teach.

Zach is an amazing teacher. Here are some of his lessons:

  • 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
  • be empathetic and compassionate
  • always look for the good in people
  • things are OK when you believe in something greater
  • what makes you happy is seeing someone else smile because you put it there
  • what’s awesome about living in this world is that you can help people
  • the structure of a family is great
  • to be in the same room with your siblings is enough
  • it is not the life in your years , but the years and passion you put into your life
  • spend time with the people you love
  • it’s ok to dream big
  • celebrate the life you have
  • you can communicate love through music
  • music can heal
  • releasing feelings through music is helpful
  • letting people know you love them is important
  • sticking together as a family is extremely important
  • be happy no matter what
  • treat people the same and everything will be fine
  • smile despite what is happening in your life
  • memories are essential…create positive ones
  • friendships help
  • fill your heart up with joy
  • it’s ok to have ultimate dreams
  • people we don’t really know can change our lives
  • the way you live matters
  • surround yourself with those people that lift you up
  • LOVE makes life BETTER

Zach says it alll better than I could ever do, his message is one that I will share again and again. Thanks Zach for giving us your gift of life.

My hope is that teachers will pay more attention to the students we teach than the content. The lessons we teach can make a difference.