February 23, 2016

CWAC pronounced "Quack".

I've had a lot on my mind lately, most of which I haven't transferred over to CWAC. (You like that use of an acronym?) So, in the spirit of allowing you to truly know more about who I am. Let me elaborate.

It hasn't been long since I started my career as a school counselor. In fact, this is my 4th year. I truly feel like I've "grown up" at the Marsh. I moved 1,000 miles away from the only life I had ever known to set off on a journey. And a journey it has been. For anyone new- I started working at the Marsh just 2 days after I moved to Florida. I guess you could say we were meant to be. Since then, I have been on a serious super bumpy, pothole filled road to self discovery.

One thing I did a couple years ago was take the Strengths Finder 2.0. I've referenced this before so anyone who has paid attention to my ramblings knows that one of my strengths is discipline. Lately, I've been thinking about another one of my strengths a lot and I'm sure you won't be surprised to find that another one of my top 5 strengths is empathy. You'd think, duh! As a counselor isn't empathy great to have as a strength? Let me tell you, it helps a LOT in my counseling, but it is exhausting sometimes!! Can anyone else feel me on this? I think I have empathy's crazy intense other brother actually. I can honestly say that sometimes I can feel other people's (and animals') pain. By other people I mostly mean children under the age of 18 and by animals I mean all animals, minus the creepy ones. I felt you needed some clarity there. Have any other counselors or people in the helping profession experienced this before? I have even caught myself wincing in the middle of a counseling session....and maybe even at the ASPCA commercials..... ok. Really. Don't judge me here.

As I've been thinking about all of this I've been wondering, is this "super" empathy really a strength?! Could it be a gift? Or is it a challenge put in my life for a specific reason? I wanted to share a post from this website created by Neil Vermillion. I am grateful they were shared with me, right when I needed them. This specific post really helped me put my questionable feelings towards empathy into perspective. Check it out, let me know what you think. And don't worry, I'll be back with my next ridiculous story soon! Stand by!

post signature

February 19, 2016

A day in the life...5 on Friday special

When I was writing a few days ago I had a a brain baby. What I was thinking about was that not a lot of people really know what a middle school counselor's day looks like. That being said, here I am providing you with a 5 on Friday Special:

A day in the life of a middle school counselor.

Today I'm just going to show you five things that happen to me in a days time. And listen, I'll probably be able to create a series out of this because every day in my life is completely different. But I started today capturing a few day to day things for your viewing pleasure. PS: I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but I don't hang out in my office and make macaroni necklaces with sad kids all day.

So, without further ado and in no particular order:

I do everything in my power to get myself organized very first thing every morning. As you can see the method to my madness is a little bit of a cluster. I look at my giant to do list in my life binder, check counselor requests and behavior, and then try to figure out how a tornado blew threw my office and left all sorts of papers on my desk.

Students are frequently in my office for various different reasons. In the event that I have a student who is experiencing lots of feelings, I need random things in my toolbox to make them feel better! I work with a tough crowd too, so doing something that doesn't cause my kids to think I'm nerdier than they already do is important.

Yes that's my own homemade goal post. With a pool noodle/homemade stress ball/football to kick.
Oldie, but goodie. I got some more mature coloring pages for my precious babies too.
Eat, sleep, breathe, walk, and dance (really bad nerdy white girl moves) character education. In the form of the Leader in Me and 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. We are pushing hard to transform the culture of our Title I, hard to staff school- into a place where students AND teachers want to be and can also develop their leadership potential.

Ceiling tiles painted by students to decorate our main hallway.
Leadership education table at 5th grade open house.
Close up of our little novelty item, because... we cute. Right Janel?

Get staff on board with being involved in various school and community events that raise money for our school and/or our district, provide an opportunity for our staff to get to know each other outside of school, and promote the family type atmosphere that we love to have.
5K recently to raise money for scholarships.
And lastly, because this one is the most important I saved it for last. The very very very first two things I do every morning are combined because they are both that important to me. (One of them way more than the other, but I'm sure you can differentiate between the two.)

Drink my morning coffee and spend some time mentally preparing myself for what's ahead (which like I said could be ANYTHING because in the Marsh as with many other schools in general- everyday is different.)

There's a little glimpse into my world without showing you specifics obviously due to confidentiality. I am positive there will be way more to come. Enjoy!


post signature

February 15, 2016

Confessions of a Middle School Counselor Part Dos

Everyone enjoys a good confession. I mean right when you hear it you're like oooohhhhh this is gonna be good! And what kind of person would I be if I neglected you the opportunity of hearing one or a couple?

I'd never be that person. So here goes:

I had a major candy craving on Friday and couldn't get enough M & M's. I stooped to a new low. I confess....I ate my friend's M & M's out of his mailbox because he wasn't at work. A small part of me felt guilty, but the other part won out and said you snooze you lose! Don't worry, I ran into him later in the day, had a panic moment, then ratted myself out. Yeah, I'm good at that.

My hair has a mind of it's flipping own. Somedays it looks really nice, other days I rock my Hermione Granger look. We all know I'm not awesome at being girly, so I confess.... I have considered more than once letting one of my student's style my hair. Only once, I just want one of them to teach me how to curl my hair with a flat iron because these youtube videos just aren't cutting it. Don't judge me. It would be a nice learning experience.

I continue to struggle with leading one of my counseling groups. I was raised to respect adults, is this old school now or something? In one group I have a few 8th graders that disagree with this. They feel that adults should earn their respect rather than automatically expecting them to show it. I don't know if I feel more frustrated that they don't respect adults, or that there are adults in their lives that have caused them to question respecting adults in general. I confess, I feel that children should be taught respect. But I have to give a double confession that I don't think any child should have to experience having to question respecting an adult that is close to them. Let's be role models people.

And lastly, I really hadn't considered this until a training I recently attended. I guess in my experience I have always thought counselors are the real superheroes. They just go on and on and on without ever needing a break or feeling exasperated. (Yes, I wrote a big word for you C. Simpson.) Well, I'm here to share- that couldn't be farther from the truth! And I am figuring that out through trial and error in my own career. Counselors can experience what is called compassion fatigue or compassion trauma. I've been doing some research on it, because I truly do love what I do and don't want to burn myself out. This stood out to me a lot: "Simply put, these are people who were taught at an early age to care for the needs of others before caring for their own needs." I confess, I sometimes struggle with compassion fatigue. See more here.

And there it is people! Let me throw this out there- I'm going to be creating a new link up soon! Keep your eyes peeled. It's going to be a good one. Interested in sponsoring the link up with me? Shoot me an e-mail!

Take this chance to get the week started off great! And a quick little photo dump. I didn't want to leave you hanging with NO pics?!

This was a Fresh Market score and they taste great!
Yeah so I got a paper rose for Valentine's day. Jealous much? 
If you wanted to know what has consumed my life. 
You can never be too careful with movie butter popcorn. Safety first.

post signature