Having been a classroom teacher for 10 years, I feel my classroom philosophical approach flows easily into my new role as a school counselor.
My first responsibility is serving as a proactive facilitator working toward the academic, social and personal goals of every student. I believe first steps in any environment are building trusting relationships. Students respond when they know their counselors (and teachers) are interested and genuinely care. Utilizing standards from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) begins the process that guides my approach with students just as state standards guided my classroom instruction. Beginning with an end in mind hones my initial assessments. As I build relationships with students, I am constantly informally and formally assessing their strengths and needs. This allows me to plan how to best meet the students’ needs. Serving as a school counselor provides the opportunity to address the needs of the whole school by providing classroom guidance, small group and individual counseling. This effort is best achieved through a collaborative effort.
Collaboration is the key to any successful educational endeavor. This is a profession in which colleagues possess of wealth of different expertise, perspectives and resources. In addition, teachers, counselors, community resources and other staff members play different roles in the life of a student at school and therefore have multiple opportunities to foster student growth. As a counselor, part of my role in the collaborative process is to support teachers and advocate for students. Including parents into this process, creates an aligned, cohesive support system for students and families. Therefore, developing a comprehensive program requires the cooperative effort of counselors, teachers, staff, parents, and the community.
Last, but certainly not least is fostering the love of learning. This starts with adults modeling how a life-long learner thinks and behaves. Long gone are the days of teachers having all the answers. Part of fostering a growth mindset is presenting questioning, searching and struggling through challenges and curiosities as learning! Students need to be provided with genuine experiences and given opportunities to solve their own problems with guided support. In the realm of school counseling, creating a secure and safe environment provides the foundation to allow students to focus on this process. Actively listening and providing strategic questioning empowers students to find their own answers. Also offering new prespectives guides students through the process. Depending on grade level, giving them career tools to foster their own pursuits, sets them on their own path. Inspiring the love of learning naturally leads students to becoming life- long learners.
“It takes a village to raise a child”. As an educator and counselor, I value the roles that each person contributes to a school. With collaboration and support, every child can achieve success.
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