National School Counselor Week

A Highlight of What I Do

National Counselor Week

My week is finally here!!! The week that I advertise and highlight my counseling program. The wonderful part of this week is I get to thank the people who support my program. In order for me to have a successful counseling program, I have to have the support of my staff. And I lucked out with Madison Elementary! I am constantly supported, thanked, and appreciated. So this is my week to thank you. Please check out the workroom throughout the week for a small token of my appreciation. Thank you, Mrs. Mims for helping me out with this task. Again, my program would not be what it is without you guys!

Why I Became a School Counselor...

For those of you who don't know, I am secondary background. I was a special ed. aide for Heritage Elementary before accepting an English teacher position at the Patriot Academy Alternative School. I taught English there for five years. I don't regret that position at all. It was there I discovered that not all children come from happy homes. I had children who had slept in cars the night before, pregnant teens, teenage moms, and children addicted to drugs. These obstacles prohibit so much. I had to work with the children to get over those obstacles before I could even begin to teach Hamlet... Beowulf... expository writing... the parts of speech. I learned that children were not cookie cut. They each have their own story. I was drawn to the counseling field during that time.

I accepted a seventh grade position at Discovery for two years because I felt a traditional background would help me as a counselor. I needed to see what a teacher goes through so that I could better serve a faculty. When I completed my internship last year with Joy I knew I had found the place I wanted to be. In fact, I didn't apply to any other schools. If I couldn't be at Madison Elementary, then I felt it wasn't my time to be a counselor just yet. Fortunately I was offered the position, and I haven't regretted my decision for a moment.

When I announced to my family I had accepted this position, they asked me if I was going into early retirement (they do not have a very high opinion of school counselors). My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, two grandmother-in-laws, and an aunt-in-law are teachers. This year has partly been me trying to prove the importance of an effective counseling program. I think I have been able to sway their opinions just a bit!

Facts about School Counselors

  • The correct title for us is "School Counselor." Why? Because the title "Guidance Counselor" is very outdated. It was given to those who were focused on class selection and college/career preparation. Counselors are trained and educated in so much more. We are skilled in counseling strategies and are focused on all students' social and emotional growth. Our roles have evolved enormously. We counsel, we teach, we advocate.
  • School Counselors have national standards to teach too! Our standards come from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model. The standards we teach fall into three main categories: personal/social, academic, and career. We can serve students in grades K-12.
  • School Counselors follow ethical guidelines in all the work we do. One of the biggest ethical considerations we must abide by is confidentiality. We must respect the privacy of the students and families we serve, while sharing what others "need to know" in order to best help our students. It is always a delicate line to walk!

My Style of Counseling: Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

I found Solution-Focused Brief Therapy was my favorite approach to counseling while in grad school. It just made the most sense to me. I believe in spending our time and energy on solutions rather than problems. With 580+ students, that approach makes even more sense. I have to be able to see as many students as possible and make the biggest impact as possible in a short amount of time. Sometimes I have 10 minutes to meet with a student before rushing off to teach a class. We focus on solution development rather than fixating on the problem.