Insights From a (Second Year!) School Counselor

second-yearBy Sabrina Bong — This time last year, I was sitting in my brand-new office, highlighter in hand, studying a map of the school.

That makes me sound a little crazy, but I had just spent half the morning running around with my then-6th grade students, looking for different classrooms. Even though my students were aware that I was just as new to this building as they were, it was still embarrassing walking down random corridors before announcing, “Oops! Doesn’t look like it’s this way,” and doubling back down a main hallway. Hence, the map. We had just gotten maps of the school for Open House, and I had been able to snag one a few days early.

Fast forward a year. This year, my students (and I) are much more at ease with the building. All of us can walk around the building and, for the most part, know where classrooms are. Let’s just say that my students have developed some sort of confidence over summer. Maybe I have as well.

The funny thing for me is that we have a new counselor at my building. She isn’t a novice to the counseling thing, but she’s new to the district. A lot of my coworkers have been saying, “Oh, it must be weird seeing a person’s first year from THIS perspective,” meaning that I am no longer viewing that first, terrifying year from a first-person point of view. And to be honest, it is a little strange. I am watching Katie try all of these new things and learning all of these concepts in a strange, deja-vu sort of way.

I know exactly what it was like sitting through my first staff meeting. I clearly remember sitting down and learning how to use some of the computer programs. I remember meeting with someone about the curriculum we deliver in class. Only this time, I am the person teaching these things. I am teaching computer programs and curriculum. I am not only participating in staff meetings, but I get to help run a meeting once a month.

But the biggest change has been how much I’ve grown (not physically — although I still dream of the day I will be over 5 feet tall!) Over the summer, I have seen how much my students have matured. Many of them are now beyond the drama. They problem-solve on their own and move around the building with more confidence and assurance. But I’ve realized that I am the same way. I no longer walk through the school in a tentative, hesitant manner. I walk with confidence, because I know where I am going. I give more eye contact. I find that I am able to talk to staff much more easily than before.

And the best part? I feel more confident. I can make decisions without analyzing every single nuance.

This year, I am sure, will be a journey. It is the dawn of my second year, the year for me to make my mark and really come into my own. I hope I will get the chance to see my students do the same. I am really looking forward to it!

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