A School Counselor's SEL Smorgasbord

Today I'm excited because the sun has come back and we've enjoyed 
several glorious walks around the lake looking for sunbathing turtles.

And while I prefer sunshine to the gloomy, dark, and foggy winter days, 
I'm reminded that when there isn't any vitamin D to be had outside, 
we can always choose to be the sunshine.

On this morning's walk, I was thinking ahead 
to my upcoming pre-conference workshop 
with the school counselors in Wisconsin.

I can't wait to dance and color with the counselors in my home state.

Have you ever wondered what a school counselor does all day?
As we prepare for National School Counseling Week next week,
let's take an abbreviated look into our amazing profession.

What does your Elementary School Counselor do?

1.  Counsels students individually and in small groups by referral
         * study skills                 * grief/loss
         * time management       * social skills
         * stress management     * self-esteem
         * listening skills            * friendship issues

2.  Consults with teachers and parents to help ensure learner success
          * serves on the Problem Solving Team (PST)
          * helps with Response to Intervention (RtI) process

3.  Implements classroom counseling curriculum around topics like:
         * conflict resolution        * problem-solving
         * emotional regulation    * healthy decision-making
         * responsible behavior    * being a trustworthy friend
         * communication skills   * growth mindset and grit

4.  Facilitates character-development integration into the school community and beyond

5.  Guides students through academic and social and emotional learning, development, and growth

6.  Assists in gathering data through norm-referenced and State assessment of students

7.  Makes appropriate referrals for additional student services as needed

8.  Coordinates school and community personnel and resources

9.  Follows the professional ethical standards for school counselors

All of that, and so much more.
Basically, we advocate for kids. And their adults, by:

* holding space with them when there are no words,
* cheering them on when they're running out of steam,
* celebrating their success with them,
* encouraging them to dream big,
*catching them when they fall,
* loving them unconditionally,
* helping amplify their voice,
* empowering them with choices,
* modeling how to listen to understand,
* teaching them about the power of gratitude,
* helping them find balance and stay present,
*showing them empathy, compassion, and kindness,
* letting them know that they matter,
* being there for them, no matter what.

Don't we have an awesomely-rewarding occupation?

Oh, and how I would have loved this strong resource from school counselor and connected educator Heather M. Couch when I was just starting out.

From getting hired to navigating that first year, from working with your administrative team to collaborating with colleagues, from understanding crisis response to responding to your own biases, and so much more, no topic is off limits and no stone is left unturned in this comprehensive, must-read manual.

I especially connected with the self-care section,
because compassion fatigue is real. So are
especially with caregivers and first responders like us.

Rookie school counselors: if you're looking to survive thrive through your first year and beyond, check out this treasure trove. Know a newbie counselor? Get them a copy for #NSCW next week.

And as always, thank you for stopping by the Corner.

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