Sunday, November 3, 2013

#FSCA13

It seems like it is that time of year for PD! Over a 3 day period, I traveled to the gulf coast and got to spend some serious time with over 300+ counselors from all over the state. We shared ideas that we love, lessons that worked, and therapies that helped change our kids from struggling to superstars. I could easily go through and write a novel on each session I attended and  the 10 take aways that I will be bringing back to school, but lets be serious,- I  will narrow it down to a few overall take-away themes during my FSCA weekend:

1. School Climate: working from the inside out, not the outside in. While it is great to hire a security guard, tint windows, and lock doors, it is also important to do the following:
  • Make your school relationship focused, student centered, with restorative consequences and increased student voices. When our school climate is positive, our academic achievement is improved. 
    • How do we do this: Say hello to student as they walk through your door. Ask them how they are, create those relationships so that the student respects you and KNOWS you. Listen to the words they are saying, and try to understand how they might be feeling. These might seem like simple, little ideas, but they WILL make a difference. Connections count!
2. Create a college/career going culture. Not every career needs college, but all careers need some training. Prior to this conference, I was putting career topics on the back burner. "My students are in 3-5 grade, they don't need to know about college/careers yet.." WOW, was I wrong! There are amazing elementary schools doing week long career weeks, teaching their students about how their interests, abilities, and strengths can take them to careers they will LOVE!  A huge take away from this conference will be implementing career topics into my classroom visits, and hopefully having a career week in the spring.

3. I don't know what I don't know! Just when I thought that I was getting the hang of what is going on in my district, how the state looks at school counselors, and what our expectations are, I get a reality check that I have SO much to learn. THIS is why it is crucial to attend conferences, seminars, webinars, etc. so we can learn and develop not only as a professional, but as a person too. I met dozens of people this weekend that are polar opposites from me; they bring so much to the table that I would have never thought of, and it is amazing to me to see how generous and kind people are to share their views on how to improve.

This weekend was so much more than  2 speakers, 5 breakout sessions, and a few meetings. It was learning about what kind of counselor I am, what kind of counselors I want to be, and a the steps I need to get there.

Until next time my friends,
Your Floridian Chick