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.

The Tough Topics in Education … Suicide

This week in #openspokes we were asked to tackle the tough topics and I decided to tackle the topic of suicide which is NOT easy.

School Counsellors often have to assist students with the grief process. Over the years I have seen students who have lost parents, siblings, friends, classmates and family members some due to a completed suicide which is the most tragic of all.

Below listen to a young man’s story that begins to tell the story of the impact on family and friends. I am not sure that there are any words to descibe the impact that this tragedy truly has,but his words I am hopeful will help other students.

As school counsellors our role is to be helpful in anyway that we can by infusing HOPE in as many ways as possible.

When a school experiences the loss of a student everyone feels the loss as expressed here by a note left to a student who died.

Dear_____,

Even though we haven’t formally met, I look at your spot in English class and I am deeply saddened that you are not here with us…

It is never easy seeing a student in deep pain especially if the loss was tragic or sudden. Often times school counsellors need to ensure that they have dealt with their own issues surrounding grief so that they can best help others. School Counsellors need to be aware of vicarious trauma or counsellor burnout when assisting students who have experienced traumatic events.

Here are my livebinders on Suicide Prevention and HOPE:

Suicide Prevention and HOPE

Mental Health resources

I know school counsellors save lives everyday and I want to thank you for the important work you do that no one else sees. I know because I have been a school counsellor for a long time. So keep doing what you are doing even though it can be extremely difficult at times.

There are students who you will make a difference for… of that I am sure! Take care of yourself so that you can continue to help others.

Do You Really Want To Be A Teacher?

I say an emphatic YES. I have no regrets about choosing a profession I love and have loved since 1980.

When I hear people tell young people to not go into teaching it saddens me, because I think we need great teachers who love what they do. Of course there are things that are not so great that teachers have to do and yes parts of what teachers do are extremely difficult. There is no doubt about that, but it is still a wonderful profession that has many, many rewards.

The students are why we do what we do.  We want to be part of their learning. We want to make a difference in their lives. We want to impact how they live their lives and contribute to society. So if anyone asks me if they should become a teacher I will say YES, YES, YES. I will tell them they have an amazing opportunity to be around and impact youth. No doubt there will be frustrations and work you don’t like to do, but the positives will so outweigh the negatives.

There are so many great things about being an educator:

  • Working with students is number one
  • Working with people who love what they do is number two
  • Having choices to do a variety of jobs within a district…teaching at different levels, consulting, administration, counselling etc.
  • Having the freedom to be creative every day
  • Learning, learning, learning. If you are a teacher you are always learning
  • So many, many more reasons

This is an exciting time in education. There will be many changes over the next few years and teachers will have the opportunity to work with youth differently while still impacting their lives in a positive way. I encourage you to find your passion and if it happens to be teaching both YOU and the students will benefit! So I say go ahead CHOOSE TEACHING.

Since 1991 I have been a School Counsellor and I believe teaching and School Counselling have been the best careers in the world. Everyday,I am grateful!

All you educators out there tell me why you would tell young people to go into teaching. Please share your ideas.

Canadian School Counsellors Connecting…School Counselling Today Touches Tomorrow

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photo by CRobi-Blog cc

To Touch The Soul of One Human Being Is To Walk On Holy Ground

Stephen Covey

One of our tasks as school counsellors is to help students separate themselves from outside evaluations and erroneous self- concepts, so that they may discover their own being. We need them to remember, regain, renew and strengthen what they once had as a baby, but now seems lost! By focusing on a student’s strengths we are better able to assist them.

Developing a positive relationship with students is essential and a key into their world; if we accept all students with respect and regard we will be effective in helping them.

Paraphrased from Windows to Our Children by Violet Oaklander

 

School Counsellors have an extremely important job to do. No matter what the situation is they are helping students and relationship is extremely important. It is the cornerstone of what school counsellors do. School counsellors are often privileged to have the time to sit down with a student to really understand their world and what it is they need.  Part of the school counsellor’s role is to enhance the students development both personally and academically.

School counsellors across the country have a variety of skills. In my district we have to have a teaching degree as well as a Master’s degree in counselling.

When students come to the school counsellor they know they can get assistance in a number of areas with a variety of issues.

Coordinating Comprehensive School Counselling Programs which recognize the developmental needs of students is vital to the work that a school counsellor does. They provide responsive services in minor and major crisis while also coordinating wraparound services for school/community agencies as well as service providers for education, mental health, justice, newcomers and health care.

The Guidance Council of Alberta has some great resources to provide school counsellors in Canada with a background and framework for what we do.

 Click here: http://www.guidancecouncil.ca/?page_id=29

The role of the school counsellor has changed and is evolving. Ask a school counsellor what they do and you may be surprised. Helping students is what school counsellors do. They want to make a difference in students lives so that they can better navigate the world around them.

Wanting more information about School Counsellors in Canada? The following websites are helpful:

  • Newfoundland: No website available at the present time
  • Northwest Territories: No website available at the present time
  • Nunavut:  No website available at the present time
  • Ontario School Counsellors Association: http://www.osca.ca/
  • Prince Edward Island Counselling Association:  http://www.peica.org/
  • Quebec: No website available at the present time
  • Saskatchewan School Counsellor Association: http://ssc.stf.sk.ca/ssca/ssca.html
  • Yukon Territory: No website available at the present time

The Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association School Counselling Chapter keeps up on school counselling programs across Canada and promotes and supports the role of school counsellors.

http://www.ccpa-accp.ca/en/chapters/schoolcounsellors/

School Counsellors love what they do and more are beginning to connect on twitter for professional development. We also love connecting with school counsellors from all over the world. So please join us follow the hash tags:

Canadian School Counsellor Chat:  #cscchat

American School Counselors:  #scchat

You can follow me @SSpellmanCann

Note to all school counsellors everywhere. If you have a HAIKU DECK that you have created please share with me @SSpellmanCann and I will share with EVERONE as well as putting in a place for all school counsellors to use.

Here is one example:                                                

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Click here:

http://www.haikudeck.com/p/VT42oMjCFM/positive-connections-school-counselling

  • Hope you join in on creating haiku decks that students and you can use.
  • Looking forward to connecting and working together to create FREE school counselling resources that students and school counsellors across the WORLD can use  to make a difference in the lives of our students.

Role Reversal Part of the #ETMOOC Experience

Tonight as I sat down to enter my #ETMOOC chat, my daughter was making a great supper. As I began to open up my laptop, get my cell phone ready so that I could  to begin to find the hashtag to enter a twitterchat for #etmchat , here’s what my daughter said. “Mom put that away we are eating supper!”

I said, ” I can’t because I am in a class and this is part of what I have to do”. She told me a few more times  to put down the technology and I continued on to keep up with the chat. I repeated what I needed to do and finally she accepted it. How many times in the past had I told her to put away her phone etc? It almost made me laugh as I realize now how when my kids are engaged in something they feel is important to them, they don’t want to stop.

On the other side of that, we have been very fortunate as a family to have many dinners together where we are all fully engaged in conversation and not distracted by technology.

So many life lessons to learn as I journey on with my #ETMOOC experience. As my professor used to tell me all the time when I did my Master’s in Counselling,”trust the process”. So I will!

So many things to learn. Isn’t life about learning lessons, no matter how old we are?

So happy to be a part of the inaugural chat. Thanks to my new online colleagues at #ETMOOC.

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