Thursday, October 9, 2014

Searching for Superman

We may not be superheroes, but I am ok with being the next best thing. Counselors are advocates for those voices sometimes not loud enough to be heard. It is so important to have a mentor someone who is looking out for you, as a counselor we provide support and empathy for all students that walk through our doors. The following are four key attributes to being a productive and positive school counselor.

Advice from the Field

I had the pleasure of interviewing two great counselors: one from an elementary school and a college counselor.  Each with different experiences but shared great insight and commonalities of what makes a successful counselor. A few great key points were:

1) Expose yourself to different levels of education, especially special education.

2) Be prepared to put your emotions aside, you will not be able to save everyone.

3) When working with kids walk with them, don’t just guide them. Reach them at their level.

4) Unfortunately, we cannot take any children home.

Expose Yourself

As school counselors, our duty does not stop at just watching over the general education students but extends to those students with special needs as well. We are advocates for every student under our care. It is important to be involved with as much as we can for those who need it most. Advice I recently received from counselors in the field, include was making a buddy system between grade levels and special education students. It is important these students feel just as secure as any other student in our care.

Emotions Aside

We may seem like Superman or women to some students, but unfortunately we cannot save them all. What is most important is that we leave at the end of the day knowing we gave it our all. We met with all the students in crisis or who just needed a listening ear, built communication with new students, and created a trusting and safe environment for all students. It is important to be able to put our emotions aside when on the job and be professional. We are not there to judge or critique, we are there to provide a safe environment for the kids.

Reaching Their Level

It may be dressing up like Elsa on Halloween or just knowing the newest slang and cool movies to reach your students, but the effort is what makes the difference between a good and great counselor. Being able to connect with students and reach them at their level can open doors to better communication. This shows students we care about them and how they feel. Creating a safe neutral talking zone can help connect with students. It is one thing to just show our students the way; but to get your hands dirty, that is a relationship.

Safe Space

We cannot change where our students come from or where they go home to. All we can do is make their days at school amazing. We cannot take any home as much as we may want to, but we can provide a safe place for them while we do have them in our building. As school counselors, we can give students the tools from 8am to 3pm to take on the world, be self-sufficient individuals, and advocate for themselves.

Photos 1 & 2 courtesy of Pinterest:

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