How to counsel the counselor: Advice from my elementary school students

13-heart-shape1By Sabrina Bong

Last week, while I was signing yearbooks for some of my students, several of my fifth graders ran up to me and gave me a big hug. After hugging them and telling them that I was so proud of all of their accomplishments, they eagerly asked me what I was going to do and where I was going to be next school year.

“You’re coming back here?” one girl suggested.

“No, Miss Bong, you’re coming to the middle school, right? And then I’ll get to see you there?” one of the boys asked.

After telling my students that I was not staying at the current school, one of the boys excitedly said, “You’re joining the high school! My sister will love you. And then you can stay until I’m done with high school!”

After repeating that I was not sure where I was going to end up, one of the girls said, “Miss Bong, you’ve always given us really good advice. Now we want to give you some of our own.” Each of the eleven students then shared one piece of advice with me. I will treasure the advice that they shared with me, and I feel so proud to have been a part of their lives. They are going to do great things in their lives; I feel so fortunate to know them.

The following are the eleven pieces of advice I received:

  1.  Always be yourself. Adults need to hear that too because they have peer pressure as well. You’re cool the way you are.
  2. If it’s your fault, be honest. The principal always finds out if you’re lying.
  3. Focus on the good stuff, whether that’s how students are acting in class or just in general. Remember that there is always something great that happens every day! You just need to think about it.
  4. Have good communication with everyone. It’ll prevent a lot of problems from happening.
  5. Don’t forget what it’s like to be in elementary school. It can be really tough sometimes! Maybe the reason we aren’t paying attention in class is because something else in happening in our lives.
  6. Think before you act.
  7. You’ll learn something new every day, even if you don’t want to. (I really laughed when I heard this!)
  8. Never stop believing in your students.
  9. Be thankful. Say thank you to everyone.
  10. Make sure your students know that going to see the counselor isn’t a punishment; it’s actually a lot of fun!
  11. New day, new start. Don’t let what happened yesterday make you feel bad today. Instead, take what you did right yesterday and do it again.

After hearing all of this, I thanked them and gave them all a hug. Then, one of the girls said, “Miss Bong, the students you will work with are really lucky. You’re pretty cool, and they get to work with you every day.” I remember trying my hardest not to cry. These students who knew me for a semester just touched my heart; I hope to live up to their (very high) expectations.

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