It Is Always Helpful to Reflect … Lesson #14 for A New School Counsellor

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Lessons 1-13 are here.

I have been very fortunate to work with and supervise great school counsellors. They teach me and I teach them. One tool that never gets old is the ability to reflect and Marc shares a few of his reflections on my blog. I know that he will have his own blog someday soon as he finishes up his Counselling degree. Listen as this new school counsellor reflects on his practice.

End of Semester Reflection

At this point in the semester, I am impressed at how much learning I have done and how much I have grown as a professional since the beginning of September. I would not have believed it if someone had told me before this semester how many situations and clients I would have worked with and survived. I am impressed with my ability to self-care, and how I am able to regulate my emotional responses. I have experienced anxiety and stress, but I am coping, as I am able to collaborate with my supervisor, reflect with classmates, and engage in my own healing activities. I actually feel less like an imposter and more like I belong in the profession.

However, despite my progress, I’m still aware of how far I have to go. I am still working on developing a conceptual map with each client, determining which theoretical models to add to my toolbox, and what actions I should take in given situations. More than anything, I still have work to do developing the instincts and comfort level required of experienced counsellors. I still make mistakes, and I am still very self-critical. I’ve hesitated, misjudged situations, and lost track of sessions. I still need to work on using my time with clients efficiently and purposefully. I’m optimistic – I’m working on improving, and have faith in my ability to grow. As long as I keep reflecting and pushing myself as a professional, I should improve.

Dual Relationships

This week’s focus on ethics drew attention to some interesting issues at my practicum site.

First, there are the concerns created by the dual roles school counsellors often are given. In schools, counsellors are often given teaching assignments, supervision duties, extracurricular commitments and administrative roles. In some cases, these dual roles can be performed without issue, even adding a positive dimension to the counsellor persona. However, despite this, counsellors still must guard against potential boundary issues, negative impacts upon therapeutic relationships, and confidentiality concerns. At my placement, my role as teacher advisor creates a dual relationship for any student in my ‘TA’ who wants to see me as a counsellor. I must be careful about the nature of my dual relationships with students and be mindful of it in the future.

Second, there are general confidentiality concerns present in schools. Teachers, administrators and parents often want information from counsellors that was given in confidence by students. Apart from cases of abuse or imminent harm, we are bound by our code of ethics to honour the privacy of our clients. That said confidentiality must be balanced by the need to protect our underage clients and by the rights of parents to be informed. This week has been a great start to discussion and reflection for the semester!

Self- Care

Self-care is a topic that all counsellors should have no difficulty reflecting upon, even as it may be easy to overlook. We all are guilty of behaviour that sacrifices our own well-being in favour of client needs, workplace demands, other life commitments, or general poor habits. A novice counsellor like myself is especially vulnerable. I am full of energy, keen to try new ideas, eager to meet the demands of my clients and workplace, and determined to measure up to my ambitious standards. Not only do I lack the experience to determine if my expectations and pace are plausible, but I haven’t had the experience to fully understand as a counsellor how to balance my life and take care of myself. Reminding us of the importance of self-care at this point of our practicum is well timed.

I need to improve my self-care in two different theatres – at work and away from work. At work, I need to take more breaks, leave my office, and connect with more staff. I need to rein in my ambitions and learn to reinforce boundaries and curtail expectations. I need to develop conceptual plans and reflect upon my practice to improve my delivery. I don’t feel overwhelmed at work, but the stress can add up. At home, I need to establish more regular self-care habits. I need to exercise more often and spend more time with friends and family. I enjoy spending time with my daughter, wife and dog, but I could reconnect with friends and family outside my home. I have been putting off certain tasks until I have completed my masters program, buy I need to rediscover hobbies and interests that I enjoy. Further, as illustrated by the ‘I need’ statements throughout, I need to temper my expectations of myself and celebrate my progress and accomplishments.

Hopefully, my career as a counsellor will be a long one. More than anything, I need to be patient.

I love that Marc is so reflective. We discuss his thoughts and concerns and each of us leaves learning something new.

This is a Self- care Haiku Deck that I created this week. In case your having a bad day I suggest you watch this video.

 

EdcampHome … Exhilarating, Exciting and an Experience I won’t soon forget

 

Thanks Katie for this view of the day. It epitomizes how I felt. SLAM.. I was scared ,but I felt the fear and did it anyway and I am so grateful I did .

A year filled with gratitude . That is what I want my year to look like and I am so grateful to these organizers. Watching what they did was AMAZING … INSPIRING … and so HELPFUL .

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John Wooden

Here is more information for you to get the idea of what the day was about: EdcampHOME 2014

ETMOOC … The GIFT That Keeps On Giving

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I am so grateful for all the gifts that ETMOOC has given me.  As I reflect upon the year I think about all the wonderful people I have met and the things we have shared.

The invite :

My first ETMOOC POST a year ago

I am a life long learner and willing to take risks and here I am signing up for #etmooc. The tweet by @courosa from @fryed on,  “What is #ETMOOC and why should you join us? ” is what finally convinced me to … just do it!!!

In one of my @haikudecks I said I would DO MORE in 2013 and here I am. Stepping out of my box and doing more.

A little nervous yes, (to be honest I was a lot nervous), but at least I am NOT going to be graded, I can just learn!! Yahoo!!! I love learning without being graded. I have had enough of that.

So in the next few months, I look forward to learning just for the sake of learning.

It is Alec Couros who inspired me to become interested in technology as much as I have and I am grateful. So thanks Alec. Here Alec is motivating me again … So my journey begins…

It is hard to believe it has been a year since I started thinking about should I or shouldn’t I take ETMOOC?  Wow, am I glad I did. I think … no I know, I am more grateful now than I was then because I did not realize just how much I would learn as a result of being in ETMOOC. More importantly it would be about the connections I would make. No, even more important it would be about the friendships I would make and continue to develop.

An excerpt from my second post is very telling “ Today, January 20th a week into ETMOOC I needed to remind myself to find the positive as I was frustrated with learning how to use new information for importing media. Trust The Process. I will say that over and over to remain calm.”

I am a school counsellor and at that time I knew very little about tech tools and how to do a lot with the technology. At that time …

I had NEVER …

  • Blogged
  • Vlogged
  • Made YouTube videos. (I did not even have an account and now I can help students upload their videos.)
  • Given proper attribution, but now I do .
  • Curate information, but now I have over 100 livebinders and a zillion pinterest pins. Here is one live binder .
  • Attended an Edcamp and EdCamphome, but now I have .
  • Collaborated with a student on a post, but here it is .
  • Created a google doc, and now I can even add to one .
  • I hardly ever tweeted . I now have over 6,000 tweets (I knew very little about twitter then) Now; I can give workshops on how to understand twitter better. I even co-moderate twitter chats.  Makes me laugh even writing this .
  • I did not know how to Google Hangout, but now I do regularly with educators from across the world.

There are so many skills that I have now, that it is even hard for me to believe I know how to do certain things technologically. My biggest smile comes when someone actually thinks I am a techy.

In another early post I finally recognize what my true purpose for being in #ETMOOC  is…

“ In my attempt to assist students along their journey in life, I reach out attempting to make a difference. This jumping out of my box into the ED tech world is my way of touching the hearts of many students so that they can get the supports they need. Counselling is more than assisting a student in my office. It is reaching out to students on a more global scale. It is being able to use technology to reach and teach them.  I will promise to use this process to educate from the heart using technology and all the tools ETMOOC gives me.”

This is still one of my favorite videos of the year:

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us” Joseph Campbell

ETMOOC allowed me to be OPEN to new experiences, people and ideas. Well, I have certainly attempted to educate from the heart this year. I have:

  • Created several  haiku decks for students and school counsellors.
  • Given a workshop on Digital Citizenship for all grade 10’s with the help of my colleagues. A special thanks to Peter Damen and Marc Osenton.
  • Helped to moderate our school twitter and facebook accounts.
  • Connected with countless educators and school counsellors.
  • Became a co-moderator for #SCCrowd .
  • Become a @HaikuDeck lover. Even got to visit Haiku Deck headquarters .
  • Created many vlogs in Openspokes and collaborated with fantastic educators.

So, how do you really thank someone especially you @Alec Couros who has taken you to places you were afraid to go? It isn’t easy, but I will try.

I think my way will be by paying it forward . My goal is to help as many school counsellors and others that I can to not be afraid. I have made many mistakes along this journey and I know I will continue to make them. Thanks to all the #ETMOOC’ers who helped me, showed me the way and continue to do so.

I am so grateful for my PLN. It is hard to put into words just how grateful I really am, but know that my heart is so full of gratitude it is overflowing and if we by chance get to meet F2F one day you will know because I will thank you in person.

Although my goal last year was to Do More . This year it will be to Do less with more ( this is easier said than done) , but I plan on staying focused on the things and the people that matter to me most. It is not that I will not be open to new experiences, people and ideas , I will. It is just that I need to say NO to some things and put my focus on those things that I remain passionate about.

So to end this post I want to create a vlog to thank you. I need to be ready which I am not right now. As I write this I cry happy tears thinking about all that all of you have done for me. No, even in my authenticity I will not create a vlog of me crying, so when I am ready I will make one just for you … that will come later, not sure when , but later.

I’d like to share some of the great posts you share in the next while so I will curate them in this live binder .  Thanks for sharing and may 2014 fill you with great happiness and bring you all of life’s blessings and gifts that you are searching for. May ETMOOC keep giving to you, so please stay connected with the hashtag #etmooc.

My last thought to share with you is tthat I hope one day that we will create a conference F2F called  Everyone Together Massive Open Onsite Conference. Are you with me ETMOOC ‘ers? ? I’ll be retired in a few years and would be happy to help organize such a conference, but will need lots of help. Let’s start thinking and planning so that we can meet as many ETMOOC ‘ers face to face as possible.

It’s been quite a year and I have received so many gifts from you , so again thanks to all of you for so much fun and inspiration especially:

@AlecCouros (without whom the giving of his time, energy, kindness and support while on sabbatical #ETMOOC would not have happened)

@fryed ( if I hadn’t seen your post maybe I would never have signed up)

@AlisonSeaman (got to meet F2F and she is as positive as she is online)

@JeffMerrell (for always being so encouraging and engaging)

@ehordyskiluong (for being by my side through all the ups and downs of learning and being so excited with me when we caught onto something new oh … you know the rest …)

@dendari (for always commenting, helping, sharing and being an #ooe13 leader and #openspokes team mate)

@grammasheri (for being such an amazing woman. I always love what you share. I can’t wait to meet you some day)

@verenanz (for being so inspirational , you are such a go getter and helper)

@valerielopes (for all her encouragement )

@clhendricksbc (for posting her first video and giving me the courage to do the same. Look how far we have come. You amaze me)

@rljessen (so happy we got to meet F2F after so many google hangouts We are creating a great friendship online and off. Thanks to the Post ETMOOC Group for hanging out and reading and sharing blogs. We have learned so much together Christina Hendricks @clhendricksbc , Karen Young @karenatsharon, Kirsten @KirstenTP and Erin Luong @ehordyskiluong )

@SISQITMAN (for all your thoughtful and kind comments …  you kept me writing . Always love what you have to say . Thank you!)

@bhwikkoff  (for creating OPENSPOKES  and being such a great leader. We have helped each other learn and grow)

and all the openspokers  Jeremy Inscho, Brendan Murphy,  JoeDillon , Jas Kooner, Gallit Zvi, Sheri Edwards, Denise Krebs and Erin Luong

@tina_p  ( for always connecting , being so positive and always making me smile. Love the Australian Connections @ActivateLearn)

@JudyArzt ( for letting me try out one of my first GH with her even though she did not know me)

@amyburvall (for all your creativity and positive energy and letting me join you in a crowdsourced video )

@debbiefuco @jacbalen @folynick @whitneykilgore  (for sharing and commenting and always being so positive in your interactions with me)

and to @djsamson for always posting great things in #ETMOOC maybe we will connect in Halifax some day.

To end thanks to all the presenters . YOU WERE FANTASTIC!

Alan Levine @Cogdog thanks for gathering all our blog posts to share and read.

Quoting Dave Cormier: “If we make community the curriculum, membership becomes how we scale. It’s all about belonging.”