Being a counselor can be hard, really hard, but the challenges are far exceeded by the rewards. I was lucky enough to speak with Frank, a local high school counselor as well as Parley, a special education teacher. Their experiences have really helped me to understand what it is to be a school counselor on a personal level. It is not about the work, it is about the students and watching them grow and succeed.
The high points of my conversations surrounded the rewarding aspects of counseling:
As counselors we cannot force students to need us, want us or even talk to us, we can only offer our support and hope they want it. Those moments of realization for kids are so rewarding to us because it is then that we know they not only need our help but have realized that they want our help too. Our help can come in the form of someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, or a voice of reason. Whichever way it is, that moment that we are let in and allowed to help, is a precious moment.
Witnessing the Transformation
The transformation is so rewarding because we get to witness the turn around, the growth and transformation away from what brought them into counseling in the first place. Seeing a student change their consciousness to change their own action and reactions. Maybe doing homework becomes easier, friendship choices are better or fighting becomes a rarity. To know that as a counselor you have helped them to work through problems in such a way that instills continued practice and growth is really amazing and very rewarding.
Seeing the “Break Out”
Not every child is “breaking out” of its small town, or high school; sometimes they are breaking out of depression or a bad relationship. Regardless of their break out, it is fulfilling to know that you have supplied them with the tools to change their own lives and make a real difference. Frank said his most rewarding and fulfilling moments are the phone calls and emails from previous students thanking him for his help and guidance throughout high school, that he really changed their lives. It makes us happy to know we didn’t give on any child; we didn’t let them pass by without offering a helping hand.
Photos courtesy of:
Photo 1: http://www.pcsb.org/domain/1203
Photo 2: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/507358714243686721/
Photo 3: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/215046950932188210/
Photo 4: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/141863456987752065/