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Monday Ideas for School Counselors

Weekly articles for school counselors with ideas on how to resolve typical school situations with students, teachers and parents using the solution focused approach.

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In the End. Be at Your Best Every Day

May 08, 20233 min read

I remember a school counselor telling me a story about three girls walking down the hallway. They were laughing and being loud, having fun after school, kicking a little of the garbage left on the floor after a busy day.

A teacher was watching them walk down the hallway, and knew one of the girls, Celia, who was in trouble a lot. The teacher thought it best to keep an eye on them. 

Yet, on that afternoon, she saw something different happen that she found extraordinary. As the girls walked past some papers that had been thrown on the floor in a huge wad, the girl who was often in trouble, picked it up and threw it into the trashcan nearby. The girls then kept on going down the hallway. 

Then, the teacher ran after them, calling out Celia’s name, startling them all, and said, “Thank you, Celia, for picking up that trash. I wish other students were that thoughtful.”

Celia was surprised and grinned slightly, then rolled her eyes. The other two girls just stared at the teacher. They walked slowly after that, giggling and talking to each other.

The teacher mentioned to the school counselor what she saw and the school counselor encouraged her to tell her colleagues what Celia did that day. She later said some of her fellow teachers were “shocked” when she told them. Over the next few weeks, Celia had very few mishaps. 

For the past two weeks, I have encouraged each of you to try out being at your best. My hope was that by doing so, you would experience an awareness of what works in your life, and how that influences others.  

Remember, we are all part of a system. Our families, schools, communities, and more are all systems, and when something changes, even on a small scale, we feel it. Whoever would have thought that a COVID virus would result in a toilet paper shortage? That’s the ripple effect when systems change.

So, here’s an experiment for today that invites you to influence your school system:

As you walk through the hallways today, or look at students in your classrooms, look into the eyes of the children or adolescents with a lens that only sees abilities, strengths, and values. They are your future human colleagues. Look for their wonderfulness and say something about it!!!

Watch the adolescents who are not so respectful to teachers yet are there to comfort a friend.  

Say: “I saw how kind you were to Jesse. Wow, she’s lucky to have you as a friend.”

Watch the child who is upset when she’s left out, yet dries up her tears and then runs to play alone. Say: “I saw you were upset, then you got it together and played anyway… how did you do that?”

Watch as students work in a group, and when they are slightly on task, say, “ Wow, you all work so well together… that makes such a difference for me as your teacher/counselor.”

Watch out for the “unmotivated” adolescent who usually puts his head down, yet

looks up at you when he walks into class and say, “Wow, I am so glad you are here today.”

When you are at your best, and watch for times when your future human colleagues are slightly at their best, and say something about it, you influence them into being better too. 

And in the end

The love you take

Is equal to the love

You make

- The Beatles

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Dr Linda Metcalf

Linda Metcalf is the best-selling author of Counseling Toward Solutions and 10 other books. Linda is a former middle school teacher, all-level certified school counselor, licensed professional counselor supervisor, and licensed marriage and family therapist in the State of Texas. She is a Professor at Texas Wesleyan University.

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