By Sabrina Bong — For the past couple of weeks, we have had interns and practicum students at my school, training to become school counselors.
It has been the strangest experience having them there. Not that I don’t enjoy them – I have really loved getting to know each of the girls who has been with us! – but it’s bizarre to look at these students and think, “That was me just last year.” The even crazier thing is that some of these people are asking me for advice, on school, on the Praxis II (which still gives me nightmares …) and about being a real school counselor. It’s a surreal experience.
Seeing these interns and practicum students, writing up my year-end evaluation, signing my contract for next year, all of these things have caused me to pause and really think about what this past year has been like. To start with, I’ve realized that I am not the same person I was a year ago. When I look at myself in the mirror, I see a more confident and self-assured person. Though I still constantly ask questions, I am okay with making more decisions on my own. I no longer doubt the advice I give, or the suggestions I offer. I really struggled with teaching in the beginning, but have felt myself become more comfortable with teaching in a classroom. I am not a perfect teacher by any means, and am definitely still learning, but I no longer have that “doe in the headlights” look whenever I walk in.
I’ve also learned a lot of lessons throughout this year, some harder than others. I have learned that you should always make sure you send a letter out before you have people teach about human growth and development. I’ve learned that you can never have too many pens (people accidently walk off with them), and that stress balls do NOT last all year if you have a lot of stressed students in your office. I have also learned that while every child deserves a loving family, not every child has one. Too often, I have heard stories of neglectful parents, abusive adults, or people who do not love and cherish these students the way they deserve. It makes me sad knowing that so many of my students leave school and go to unloving homes. If I could, I would adopt all of these students and raise them in a loving, supportive environment.
But the best part about my first year was meeting all of the students and faculty that I am fortunate enough to work with. I can truly say that I work with some of the most interesting and sweetest students I know. Just this past week, one of my students said that I was his best friend, and that whenever he is sad, he knows that he can come to me and I will help raise his spirits. This is not to say that my students are angels, but they all have a good side to them. I feel so blessed to be able to have such strong ties with them. As for my colleagues, I feel that I have truly learned from the best and been supported by a great staff. I feel very fortunate for this.
So much has happened in a year, and the school year isn’t even finished! We shall see what the rest of the year has to hold.