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Seek and Find Puzzle: Who is the Solution Focused School Counselor?

January 09, 20234 min read

Monday, 11:30 am: the middle school art teacher come to the school counselor’s office, fuming.

Teacher: Hi, could you please talk to Rick M? I have had it. I am not going to deal with his disruptions in class this semester. Last semester, he did okay at times, but already today, here he goes, interrupting me and distracting the class. Thanks. (Attempts to leave.)

School Counselor: Hi, hey, listen, before you go, I would like to help. Have a seat, it won’t take long.

Teacher: Okay - I have ten minutes before lunch.

School Counselor: Ok. Tell me, what are your best hopes in regard to Rick?

Teacher: Like I said, that he will stop disrupting the class. I spend lots of time on my lesson planning and he gets kids laughing and I lose them.

School Counselor: Ok, so instead of him disrupting the class someday, what would he be doing?

Teacher: Well, obviously, not doing that and listening to me, not bothering others.

School Counselor: Hey, is it okay if I write some things down?

Teacher: I guess.

School Counselor: So, you said that last semester was okay. Tell me times when he was listening and doing some of what you wanted.

Teacher: I can’t think right about that right now, I am so angry.

School Counselor: I’ll bet you are. But, take a second and just tell me one or two times when he did what you want.

Teacher: (Thinks for 2 minutes, silent, frowning…) When we did the project for the homecoming football game decorations in class, he was actually great. He was on the football team so he had the best ideas. It’s been downhill since.

School Counselor: And, if he were in here, what would he say it was about that project that might have made a difference? 

Teacher: Ah, well, it meant something to him, I guess. You know, adolescents, they like being in the spotlight. Kids were asking him a lot about football and he loved it. And, I guess, I was actually so surprised at how creative he was that I told him several times that he was quite talented. But once the project was over and we settled into other lessons, he went haywire. 

School Counselor: Tell me, if Rick were in here, what might he say it was like for him when you complimented him like you did.

Teacher: I don’t know. He’s a kind of a tough kid, you know. (laughs) I think he was probably surprised, because I do run a tight ship in art class. It was one of the few times when he didn’t give a smart remark, and just smiled and looked away. 

School Counselor: So, during those times, how did you know to do that? I mean, he was difficult and you somehow knew to go over and compliment him.

Teacher: I guess I try to be positive but I also think that kids need to show me that they are trying.

School Counselor: And, would you say he was trying on those days after you complimented him? 

Teacher: I guess so. It’s hard to remember, but I was so glad he was not bothering others, that I thought, “hey, do something so he keeps on.”

School Counselor: Wow. I have written down what you have been saying that you did that seemed to really bring out something in Rick and that meant you had some better classes. I am going to make you a copy.

Teacher: Well, okay. Can you still talk to him?

School Counselor: Sure. But before I do that, I have an idea. Before you see Rick again tomorrow, in class, I want you to think about anything he might have done okay over the past few days and then watch for anything he might do tomorrow, that shows the student you saw during the homecoming project.

Teacher: Okay. I’ll try.  

School Counselor: By the way, I have to tell you that it was quite impressive to hear what you said to Rick in the fall when he had good ideas. What do you think that says about you as a teacher?

Teacher: (Smiling) That I do care.

What did the school counselor do in this that was solution focused? How did it turn out with Rick?

Find out LIVE this week on SF Connection, Wednesday January 11, 12:00PM CST.


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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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