When I am not blogging, trying new restaurants or fitness classes, traveling, cooking, or spending time with friends and Colton, I am a school counselor. The journey that led me to school counseling is a story for another day, but I love what I do. I see a lot of encouragement for teachers and students that is well deserved, needed and appreciated this time of you. Today, I want to take a minute to share an encouragement letter to school counselors.
Dear Fellow School Counselors,
It’s that time of the year again! You have spent several hours the last couple of weeks in meetings and trainings about 504, suicide, child abuse, and developing a school guidance and counseling program. Many of you had to lead trainings on your campus covering some of these topics. You have juggled all of this while getting your office (which, let’s face it are just closets for some) ready for this year’s group of students. I know how mentally exhausted you are feeling right now. At this moment, you may be second-guessing your career path and seriously considering moving to a foreign country and selling coconut faces on the beach.
However, Monday is almost here! Everything you have been prepping for all summer; the time researching new books, coming up with new lessons, and new counseling techniques to use in your group, will finally serve a purpose. It may be your first year, last year, or somewhere in between but you will be ready. All of the little things don’t matter. On Monday morning, you will be drying away tears from scared kindergartners and reassuring kindergarten moms that their babies will be just fine. You will see familiar faces from last year and welcome a whole new group of students to your school. It will be your job to help all of the students feel comfortable, learn friendship and character building skills, and pursue their passions.
It won’t be an easy year. It never is. There will be days you come home immediately after filing out a CPS report. You may spend your day talking to a student who is thinking about suicide or help a grieving student cope with the loss of a family member, but you will make a difference in their life. As a counselor, you won’t always be able to “leave work at school” because you have so much compassion for your kids. You may find your workload get overwhelming and full of “non-counseling duties”. There will be days you will want to throw 504 paperwork out the window or take your own advice and scream into a pillow. In all that you do, remember, you are making a difference.
This year, I encourage you to find your passion. What is it that you love about being a school counselor? Is it that you get to watch these kids grow up and build relationships? Do you love talking with kids about character and doing guidance lessons? Maybe you love working with small groups or doing individual counseling. It could be that you love helping them apply for colleges and are the first person they tell when they get accepted. Whatever it is that you love about your job- do that. Often.
What if, this year, you focused on those positive things?
We talk to our students about leaving a legacy, but what can you do with your counseling program that your students will remember forever? I challenge you to find something to set your program apart. What can you do to leave a legacy at your school this year?
Thank you for your devotion to teaching students about good character and integrity. Thank you for helping facilitate conversations that mend friendships. Thank you for listening and giving students the space, confidence and freedom to express themselves. Thank you for supporting teachers, administrators, and parents. It is because of great counselors like you that I became one myself. You never know who you are inspiring.
Who will you encourage this year? I hope you find your passion, leave a legacy, and go make a difference. This is your year to not let the bad things take over and to focus on the positive. This is the year you have the power to be the counselor you have always wanted to be.
Please feel free to share this with any school counselor you know that may need some beginning of the year encouragement! I would love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below.