Thursday, October 15, 2015

Getting to Know You

As a new teacher here at Seisen, I experienced typical hesitation/nervousness about what the “settling in” process would be like. How will the students respond to me? Will they accept me as their counsellor and seek me out for advice/guidance? Will their parent’s be supportive? After only a few days, I could answer  each these questions with a resounding YES! I has been truly wonderful getting to know the students, staff and teachers that make up the Seisen community.

Initially, it was important to make introductions and visit each classroom in order to explain my role as a school counsellor. What does a school counsellor do? How should each student contact me when they need to discuss a problem? What are the “rules” surrounding privacy and confidentiality? 

HOW STUDENTS CAN CONTACT ME

THE “RULES” AROUND CONFIDENTIALITY

With grades 2-4,  I was able to use items as metaphors to explain my role. Students were asked to think about how specific items could relate to the school counsellor’s job duties. Here are a few examples that were utilised: ERASER, LOCK, COMPASS, COLD PACK, TISSUES, BANDAID, HEADPHONES and paper HEART.  I was very impressed with their level of understanding and ideas!

Grades 5-6 were given a fun, multiple choice quiz about the role of the school counsellor. I thought it was a great way to gauge their knowledge about my job duties and previous experiences working with the counsellor. I went a bit further with grade 6 and asked them to use sticky notes to answer the following questions:


...and some of their responses were...


                  

I decided to use this exercise to gain a better understanding about what the girls in the elementary school are presently coping with and to elicit some ideas about which kinds of counselling groups I may want to start in the near future. So far, it seems as though stress/anxiety and friendships are primary social-emotional concerns that have been reported by the students. These are also topics that will be addressed through the Primary Years Program (PYP) and via classroom-based lessons.  I am looking forward to working closely with the girls (individually, in small groups & in classrooms) to help them to expand their "toolbox" for how to cope with life's ever-increasing demands.  

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