My first year as a school counselor in an urban elementary school is almost complete. We have just 6 school days left for the year, 3 of which are half days, and then 1 final planning day for teachers and staff.
Long ago, when I first began working as an intern with juvenile probation during undergrad (and again in graduate school), in the very same city that I now work, I talked to my supervisor about how I just wish I could have helped some of these kids sooner. I wanted to be there to help them, to guide them, to put a spark in them, to show them love and kindness, and teach them the same thing. It's so ironic that this setting is really where I ended up.
This job is not luxurious. It does not pay well. I don't even get the perk of Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness since I am not a teacher. It is very flexible in that I am able to create my own schedule and my own program which I certainly like a lot.
There are a lot of rough days. There are days when I find it difficult to stay objective. There are days when I can't wrap my head around how broken the systems in our society really are. I don't think you could ever really even begin to contemplate it until you actually SEE what it is like. See the homes of people living in poverty. Speak with them. Teach their children. Learn about their backgrounds.
Some of those days feel like a whirlwind of breaking up fights, of students yelling over me during guidance lesson, of kids that constantly run out of their classrooms, students swearing at each other, jumping off of tables and bookshelves, blatantly disrespecting their teacher, throwing chairs in anger, kicking a wall, screaming and crying.
There are wonderful, beautiful days.
When the boy that has gotten into countless fights this year alone comes up to me and tells me that someone hit him today and he didn't hit them back.
When the girl that is constantly threatening people is certain to tell me several times about how she is now being a good friend.
When my students ask me how I can always help make everyone be friends again.
When a student learns some real anger management strategies and uses them in the classroom.
When some students insist that after learning more about respecting others, they owe their teacher an apology.
When the kids get to have a special event or assembly. I almost cried the day that we had a really big, fun assembly in late fall. The kids were SO happy. It made me so happy to see them that way.
Now that I've had a year for trial and error, for learning more about the environment as well as my profession, I hope that I can continue to make a difference in someone's life.