Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry?...Happy?...Learning to be the "Politically correct" counselor

December: the most joyful month of the year. It is a time when family and friends get together and enjoy one anther's company.. To be honest, when I think of December, one things comes to mind: Christmas. Yet as a counselor, our role is to be accepting of others, compassionate, open, and loving towards those we work with. After just googling "December holidays", this is the list that came up:
  • Ramadan (Muslim)
  • Eid al-Fitr (Muslim)
  • Saint Nicholas Day (Christian)
  • Eid'ul-Adha (Muslim)
  • Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican)
  • St. Lucia Day (Swedish)
  • Hanukkah (Jewish)
  • Christmas Day (Christian)
  • Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian)
  • Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish)
  • Kwanzaa (African American)
  • Omisoka (Japanese)
Sadly, I did not know some of these holidays existed yet  I expect everyone else to know the "in's and out's" of Christmas.  My view of December is quickly changing, and maybe for the better. If I want to decorate my office with a tree, I feel that I should have a menorah, a crescent moon and star, and Kwanza candles on display as well. The more I learn, the more I grow, and what better way to learn about other religions and cultures than to talk to those who experience them : the children and their families.

So Happy, Merry, bless, and cheers to those who celebrate December in all forms, ways, places, and celebrations!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

PSCA Conference: The importance of sharing ideas.

I am still so excited about Friday that I just had to share it with the rest of the blogging world. Hundreds of Pennsylvania school counselors met in Lancaster  this past Wednesday-Saturday  for the 56th annual PSCA conference. I had never been there before and was amazed to see the ideas and research people were sharing. Over the course of this school year, I have come to fully appreciate the value of the sharing of information. In order to be a great school counselor, it is imperative to spread your ideas as well as try the ideas of others.

Brian Law, President Elect of ASCA( 2010-2011), held a seminar about celebrating school counseling. He is a true example of a skilled leader who is making a difference in this world.  In a tough economy, it is safe to say that school counseling jobs are scarce, yet we need to show anyone and everyone how important this profession is and the dramatic differences that a counselor can make in a school. In order to do this, we need to collect current and relevant data on problem areas, implement programs that will help student succeed and finally evaluate what has been done and what needs further help. If you ever have the chance to hear the southern voice of Brian Law, I highly recommend it.

On a Northern note, I also had the opportunity to hear Barbara Micucci speak about a small group she created for Siblings of Special needs children. Not only was I amazed by her passion for what she does, it also made me stop and think about ALL the "untapped" groups of individuals that I have not reached out to.  I have been involved with many divorce, self-esteem, friendship, and grieving  groups, which are all clearly very important and  helpful, yet what about children who are experiencing unique lifestyles and think they are the only ones who are going through it? The siblings of those with special needs may not get the voice that they need, but Barb Micucci gave them a voice; which is making me think... whose voice am I not hearing?

The executive board of PSCA

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The hidden rapports that help the most

When I think of who a school counselor works with, the obvious come to mind: the students, the parents, the teachers, and administration. As the semester is coming to a close, I am realizing more and more the importance between the counselor and ..(drum roll please..)

                                                    THE principal!

When I look at my supervisors school and think of all the people she has built a solid rapport with, the principal is clearly a front runner. After having spent multiple years together, they know their own roles, and the role of the other person as well. My supervisor tells the principal what he needs to know, and at the same time, keeps an appropriate level of confidentiality with her students. This principal does not feel the need to know every detail because he truly trusts the counselor and lets her do her job so he can do his job to the best of his ability. I also had no idea how hard it was to be a principal.  They are constantly being pulled in 10 different directions and need to support, advocate and be a boss to everyone in the school. It seems like a difficult role and takes a structured, hard-working personality to succeed in.

It is trust, honesty, and a genuine respect for the other person that goes far in this school and I feel fortunate to be watching a healthy relationship continue to unfold. It enables both the counselor and the principal to do the best job that they can and do what helps the students the most. So to my future principal, I would love to work WITH you, supporting students in all they do so they can achieve.