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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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"Did You Borrow a Magic Wand?”

October 23, 20232 min read

Over the past eighteen months, I embarked on an exceptionally challenging project.

Collaborating with thirty-eight co-authors, primarily graduate students, we collectively wrote and edited the third edition of a textbook that ended up spanning a colossal 1200 double-spaced pages. There were moments when I questioned my ability to endure another fifteen-hour day in front of the computer, editing.

However, my editor remained steadfast, and the deadline of December 31 compelled me to press on. While I could have requested an extension, I knew it would disrupt the entire book publishing process, so I persevered.

I successfully met the deadline, and for the subsequent eight months, I continued to revise and meticulously copy-edit the manuscript when the copy editors had suggestions and changes.

Interestingly, no one ever asked me during that time, "How do you manage to do this and teach too?"

Instead, they offered their support and congratulatory words.

The question, "How did I do it?" became a recurring question in my own mind for months afterward. Each time I reflected on it, I gained deeper insights into the strategies I used to see the project through.

Unfortunately, there was no miraculous solution, but I did stumble upon a couple of surprises as I retraced those months. I've documented these answers and stored them in a folder on my iMac, which I've titled "Survival Kit."

As I share this personal story with you in this week's Monday Ideas, I'm reminded that we often forget to ask students, teachers, and parents visiting our offices how they navigate through challenging situations.

Consider these examples:

  • A sophomore who, despite not sleeping last night due to his parents' disruptive arguments, manages to arrive at school with his shoes tied and seeks support in your office.

  • A teacher who, already burned out by October, openly contemplates leaving the profession but still prepares engaging science lessons.

  • A single parent who uses her lunch hour to study for an online class, striving for a better future for herself and her three young children.

We can inquire how these people managed without expecting profound responses. These questions simply convey wonder about the remarkable resilience of the human spirit:

  • "How did you manage to come to school today, given what you went through last night?"

  • "What keeps you going even when things are tough?"

  • "How do you juggle this with three young children? I'd love to hear your secret."

Responses may vary, with some initially answering, "I don't know." But your question will prompt them to reflect on it later, and when they do figure it out, you'll have helped them discover something irreplaceable…their grit.

And grit can accomplish remarkable feats - like completing a book.

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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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