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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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Need to Change Someone Else? Try Being Your Authentic Self

October 30, 20232 min read

During a recent guest lecture in my university class, an interesting situation unfolded. Some students arrived late, leaving our guest speaker in a dilemma as to how to fill the time until everyone was present. As an unexpected solution, he decided to share a brief home video he had made with his adult children, singing with him.

To our surprise, the students laughed and were captivated by this personal glimpse into his life, and it set the stage for a more engaging and connected presentation once he began.

This experience made me appreciate how a brief glimpse into someone's personal life can create an instant connection.

Our lives are stories, shaped by the characters we choose to be around and those we encounter by chance or as part of our jobs. We must adapt and respond to the different contexts and individuals that populate our stories to get through life.

Consider for a moment how you behave around your chosen characters - your partner, children, friends, and relatives. These individuals bring out different aspects of your personality, and they get to know you in a way that others, particularly those at school who aren't part of your chosen circle, may not.

What if your students or colleagues had the chance to see this side of you? How might it affect your interactions?

As educators and counselors, we are influenced by the students in our classrooms and the colleagues we work with. Sometimes, we react in ways that may not align with our true selves. These reactions send messages to others about how to respond back to us. And, often, their reactions are not ones we appreciate.

With the aim of improving how others perceive and interact with you, consider the following questions:

  1. What aspects of yourself are you proud of that your students or colleagues may not realize?

  2. What activities do you engage in outside of school, especially on weekends, that bring joy to your life?

  3. Are there external factors or situations that occasionally affect your behavior at school and hinder you from being your authentic self? What support or understanding do you wish others would offer during those times?

For just this week, let's embark on an experiment:

Share a glimpse of your life outside of school with a student, class, or colleague, just once.

Show a fraction or more of your authentic self.

By trying this experiment, you might change the interaction with others which may benefit you.

And, it might just be the catalyst for a change in them.

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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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