Place a position in my profession. Also continue to do what I love which is finding my way, helping others in the process of being great! And most of all attending Graduate School soon receiving my masters in school counseling or marriage/therapy if the lord's will.
I recently received an opportunity to be a camp counselor the previous summer for Gear Up Academy. It was a huge accomplishment for me because this is something I have always to do. I was honored to fulfill that position of a counselor/mentor helping young adolescents interested in College. It was a amazing experience.
Social & Behavior emphasis
National Society of Collegiate Scholars
My senior year I had recently presented our capstone project on some facts on why counseling is important to me. Also what drives me, link provided.
IDST 495 Capstone
December 3, 2014
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the current U.S. average student/counselor ratio is 488:1 and it's more than 1,000 in some schools. (Elementary school& guidance counseling) And that's not even the full amount, school counselors can play a huge part in the environment we live in today. School counselors can influences the students in the areas that includes academic, personal/social and career. They can encourage and deal with student behaviors that can come along with issues stemming from their home environment. A study reported that group counseling provided by school counselors significantly decreased participants aggressive, hostile behaviors. (2003 Professional counseling) Research proves the purpose behind this capstone project which is “Ways that school counseling deals with student behaviors stemming from home environment in effective way”. This project will also include Schools counselors in an elementary school setting, several data/research and interviews to cover this information.
The stated objectives of the project will consist of ways that schools counselors can be effective. The ways they impact others that may be around them, whether it's career, personal, and academic. This project will talk more about how school counselors tend to deal with those students who grew up with a different upbringing based on their background. This project is very important to my field of study because this is something that I plan on doing with the rest of my life. Also something that I need to know based off my field of study before entering it. My Initial goal is to be an elementary school counselor dealing with similar issues that involves this topic. Not necessarily just this topic or issue but anything the child may come across, or my job may consist of.
Going into this interesting topic, I have researched several information that has to do with school counseling effectiveness. As I mentioned above the study that included group counseling and the benefits that can come from that when referring to the child initial background. Will often include group therapy dealing with the same students that has similar issues. The Group counseling includes grades K-12 Public schools. This Study shows several ways that it can improve and has affected the child's behavior. Throughout the study the information shows differences between counseling high school, middle school and elementary school students and the methods used to reach improvement. The groups are called “remedial”. And they all involves transitioning, overcoming, personal empowerment, friendship forming, divorce separation etc.(Lee,2005) So many different issues during this group intervention all designed to help promote healing, helping students in all particular situations. (Lee, 2005)
The counselor may set the students up with similar problems, similar back grounds and have them get comfortable with one another before the group counseling has started. It will then touch on some of the objectives a goals that consist of this project. The individuals will talk amongst themselves using the counselor's strategies and methods to resolve their problems. And are bound to come out of the group intervention ten times better than when they first entered. These group strategies that the school counselors used are meant to bring peace and happiness to those children that needs it the most. Also which is why school counselor's deal with this type of situation, you never know how much of an impact you can be on that individual. And the type of joy you can bring in that child's life despite the age rage.
Moving along, during my research I had a study that involved urban school counseling and their implications. According to Gordon (2005) “ an urban environment characterized by diversity, conflicting lifestyles, culture richness, high concentration of material resources, rapid communication and travel and the coexistence of fluidity, rigidity, in institutional and personal behavior” (pg.189) . I do believe that this is a great example for the ideal topic that's being presented in this project. It's a prime example on why we need school counselors and their help based on the child's surrounding. The area is more rural, also the schools are as well.
Urban education is being more than just teaching low status people to create awareness and promoting awareness. (pg.189). the students seem to deal with a lot more violence, in a rugged area during their background as a child. It also seem to have a huge effect on their behavior in school, because of their home environment or outside environment. The urban school counseling address the present challenges extending development perspectives addressing problems of violence, low achievement and poverty. (Green Keys, 2001). Which all great issues to address leading towards growth in development in the students and their behavior.
Furthermore, this article discusses some of the urban needs, some of the case scenarios that are used and the urban counseling models. The urban counseling describes certain ways to improve the student's situation whether it's with school, family, or higher education these counselors will provide assistance. Assistance not only for the student, but the family as well. Providing great feedback also to encourage the students to aim for achievement. Although many challenges exist, the cultural richness of any urban environment creates opportunities for exchange through diversity that can promote healthy development for all students (Sink, 2002). The development can be very effective, school counselors can really change lives and perspective on things. This all can occur by dealing with the child's behavior, arising from the students back ground.
The relationship that some of these scholarly articles share with the types of approach has to do with disciplinary approach. I chose this specific steps simply because their all working towards the same goal. And that peculiar goal which is to keep the children satisfied, counseling and encourage them into the right direction. I also used this approach simply because it deals with the steps taking to reach this goal, the actions needed to fulfil their goal. When it comes to this approach I find that it can be very useful towards the counseling field.
The importance to my understanding involves being aware of the students behaviors and the area the child may reside in. Understanding the child's point of view, try to dig a little deeper as verified in the studies mentioned above. Use the steps learned to fix the predicament at hand. Perhaps organizing a group intervention between the family members, helping to understand the child issues more. Putting those strategies to use as well. There can be numerous of reasons other than the student's background, itcan be psychological damage, domestic violence, drugs, drop outs, bad group of friends etc. It can be many possibilities you just have to do your best, to do great at what you do as a counselor. This is more so another reason why I'm so inspired to pursue this career.
Moving forward I would like to share my personal experience I had recently got the opportunity last summer to fulfill the position of being a camp counselor. I accepted this position because I have never gotten an opportunity like this, and it was great experience for my field. The summer job had turned out to be amazing there were twenty five student's majority girls than boys from different areas of Kentucky. These students were beginner high school students, they all were here to gain more knowledge on what to expect in college. The program was called “Gear up Academy” it lasted for a month. Although, within this month we were doing activities every single day from six in the morning till eleven at night. The activities we had them participate in, involved different class sessions based on some college courses.
Some of the courses we had touched on was accounting, teaching them the importance of budgeting money in college and how it's smart to start at an early age. Other courses involved visits to the planetarium learning the insights of astronomy and what consist of it etc. Although, I have learned so many of these children's stories and back grounds. The stories were astonishing, I never thought I would hear such young children endure so much at that age. I was amazed on how much these children had trusted me, to completely open up to me in that way. I was lucky to even experience a dose of what my career consist of.
There were some nights when I just sat with them just to listen to them joke or just talk, it filled my heart with so much joy. And personally made my passion stronger, I loved what I had done for those children every single day. Even though it was such a short amount of time spent there it was a wonderful experience. I didn't realize how much I impacted those children's lives. When it came to our closing ceremony we gave out awards to our students, did our group presentation on our project, experience here at WKU. Then we had said our goodbyes and we all was in tears because of the amazing bond that was formed. Also all of the counselor's had received a bag filled with notes thanking us from the children. When I received mine it was AMAZING they all looked up to me and told me how great of a counselor I was.
It's the small things like this that matter to me the most, more so of what drives me to want to reach out to the world by being a school counselor. I had reached out to every child, tried to make a difference with their unbelievable background story, leaving me with that strong passion that's used in the counseling field. This is another huge example regarding this capstone project, stemming from the child's back ground in an effective way. Another reason school counselors are important to me, simply by impacting students and families. I just would like to continue this streak of encouraging others in a positive way doing what I love to do.
Moving ahead, I also had the chance to interview a school counselor at Primary Academy. The counselor name was Ms. Figgs and she was very nice, warm towards me also very open to my questions that I had asked. During the interview I recently asked several questions regarding the school counseling field and my capstone project. I asked questions such as: what inspired your career? What type of counselor are you? How do you deal with the children's behavior coming from different back grounds? How long have you been in this profession? What type of advice should I know going in to this type of field? Etc.
While interviewing Ms. Figgs I began to receive some great feedback, which made my heart melt. Ms. Figgs is a Child Guidance Specialist providing services for students from preschool to 2nd grade. Also involves individual meetings, group meetings and families with ways to be successful. Ms. Figgs also elaborated more on what sparked her career as a counselor. She said” she has always known since 9th grade that this is something she wanted to do”. Also helping out a party for kids in need and that really motivated her as well. She told me where she started off working to get to where she is now. Which is a group home, she continued to work in various social work settings in the Social Work field.
Ms. Figgs also went into detail about how long she had worked as a school counselor which is seven long years. Although, along the journey there were some emotional times but plenty of joyous moments shared with the children and people she had made an impact on. Making sure she gets to know her students names and the passion she had before remains there but even stronger then when she first started. During the interview she also describes the ways she deals with the children behavior, by making sure the child's needs are met. It depends on the various situations that are at hand, she also uses some family dynamics. Sometimes the family is involved and sometimes when they are included the child's situation/behavior are resolved. She also elaborates about the joy she gets from knowing that she helped the children each day. Ms. Figgs continues on with the interview by telling me how much she enjoys her job.
I also admire the passion she has for helping others, how she wants the best for her students. She also very passionate about working as a team with other staff which makes the effort more successful. She also elaborates on how important it is to build relationships with the student and families, how she enjoys that connection. While interviewing her I remembered asking her the type of impact she has on the students she comes across daily. She replied “she feels she has a positive impact on the children. Simply by the hugs shared, the smiles and notes that she receive from the children. I had shared with her that I would love to have that type of impact when I fulfill this position as a school counselor one day. Ms. Figgs continued on with a smile, and said “that hard work and dedication will pay off, in due time it will soon happen.” I smiled and said thanks I will pursue that, then continued on with the interview.
Further into the interview, Ms. Figgs discussed that the relationships that's build with the children makes them more open to talking to you. The child begins to feel more comfortable, talking continuously. During the interview I was not only taking notes on paper, but in my mind. Simply because this is very important information that is going to benefit me in the near future.
Ms. Figgs also gave me some great advice that include being a newbie coming into the counseling field. She explains coming into this type of field you have to understand that it's not an easy job. Also advise me to have a mentor the first year into the counseling field, never be afraid to ask questions. Again, building important relationships with those adults that you may work with and how easier it makes your job. Don't be afraid to ask for help because that's an easy way to get burned out. Understanding that all students and families are unique regardless of what color race they may be. You have to work really hard, do not form prejudices about the student's and families get to know them first. Ms. Figgs also goes into the detail about going into this positon with an open mind, don't go in knowing everything when there's still more to learn. You can learn from the children and listen to the advice giving by other people. You never know the things you may learn that can be very beneficial in the near future.
There is no specific age range that can rate from easiest to hardest. Ms. Figgs also talks about how she loves working with this group of students ranging from there innocence to honesty. I agreed along with Ms. Figgs, explained how much I enjoy and love children especially this age group. The children are very loving and have such happy spirits.
Moving along Ms. Figgs explains her keys to success will have to conclude the willingness to go the extra mile. She also said “that just because you have the title of a counselor, don't get so caught up in the title”. You have to be able to perform the duties/roles that comes along with this job and be able to work as a team. Be proud of your profession, great at what you do and there's will always be a helping hand when needed. I took this into consideration as well. Another thing she talks about is about how she “likes to think she has an impact on the students daily”. I just smiled, said “you have a huge impact on those children”. That's always that question in the back of her mind, which is “have I made a difference today”. It amazed me simply because she works so hard to be what she always wanted to be, still question herself about her work. I think that's just another step towards success, you will always gave those questions in mind and will give you room to improve in your profession.
Ending this interview we had covered all the most important things that I had questions about. We also touched on getting to know the area you may work in and reach out to resources. You have to know the age group that you will be working with and learning about their music, the types of movies they may watch, toys they play with, the books they read etc. All of these things matter when you're in a field like this their also good conversation starters. The interview with Ms. Figgs turned out to be a huge success I must say I have learned a lot during the entire interview. I thanked her afterwards and told her how much I appreciate her for taking the time out of your day to help me with not only my project my future. I will also be sure to use these methods and techniques while entering the counseling field. I was so inspired after the interview, all of the good feedback and information made me ecstatic. I just love the feeling of Joy people get just by helping others which is something I love doing. Ms. Figgs is a really generous intelligent school counselor that I look forward to being one day. I will just have to keep in mind that hard work will soon pay off.
I am very glad I got the opportunity to interview Ms. Figgs, it honestly gave me more inspiration and power to change the world. This gave me more insight of what to expect in the counseling field, the types of behavior, relationships formed. This also gave me some sense of direction on the things on what I need to work on within myself to be an amazing school counselor. Also when it comes to the stemming behaviors from the child back ground, you just have to learn every student and family without judging. Simply because you may never know that child's story. I will also remember to use the techniques to solve the child's situation with family assistance if needed. I have really learned a great deal of beneficial knowledge that will help further my career and expectations.
Through it all, all of these scholarly articles and interviews, examples they all represent children and their behavioral issues, a story behind it. I have learned that behind every child's face there a miraculous story that comes along with that child. The behavior can come from being emotional, psychological, mentally it can be caused by anything from the child's background and the environment lived in. I have learned about dealing with these behaviors as well. As mentioned above in the previous examples. There were group interventions, family or fellow colleagues the same age range. Also different types of counselors dealing with this similar situations dealing with that a variety of age ranges. It also doesn't matter what type of environment you may reside in. Referring back to the earlier articles I had elaborated on were urban areas, dealing with domestic violence, school dropouts, drug use etc. Still had an urban school counselor that can help, make miracles happen in that child's live. Research proves to show that stemming from the students behavior there is always a resolution.
The knowledge I have gained during person experience it's just preparation for the future expectations. Learning the children, getting to know their situations, not judging them by how they look. And being there in desperate need of time, can all play roles of a school counselor. During my experience I have dealt with several different personalities, behaviors that were challenging for me at times. Simply because it was my first time, it all seem to come natural with me. The children began to understand the type of person I was, as I started to understand the type of person they was. Some touched me more than others, but they all had a huge impact at the end of the day. I had dealt with it one by one, and if some students were in a group it was because they were friends. I would first listen to what's being said, then talk it over with them and try to come up positive outcomes to fix this situation. I would try to stay positive throughout the whole thing regardless of how the situation may make me feel. I didn't know I was already using counseling skills and methods. I was just trying to keep it professional. Like I have mentioned before these resources all play a tremendous role in this Capstone Project. They all relate, in their own various ways dealing with the student's behavior stemming from there back ground.
Although, that information was very beneficial when referring to this capstone project. I had found more research scholarly articles that relate this issue as well that I will like to share. The scholarly article that I had come across is called “School Counselors as a program leaders: Applying Leadership Contexts to School Counseling”. And it elaborates more on the different types of techniques that can be used to be effective towards the students. It also describes the various types of programs that can be used as well. It can improve ways to promote positivity in the students' behavior. The different types of program can include multicultural awareness, pupil assistance, mentoring programs, student leadership, political activism etc.
The whole purpose of this is form some sense of leadership in the community, the school counselors are looking for leaders in the school. According to the research the author defines leadership as experiences of symbolic growth and development. (Johnson, 2009) The school counselors are trying encourage young students to become leaders through these programs offered. The programs will enhance the student's behavior, and the student performance in the school environment. I think it's a great idea for you adolescents, not only be leaders for themselves and reducing behavioral, increase in educational, more communication with the teachers. Also those students that are in these programs can encourage their fellow colleagues to do the same, make a difference. Making a change, not only in a school environment but outside of it.
The connection between this scholarly article and the capstone project will include the positive change in behavior. The drive the counselor seems to have in every article, personal experience or interview with a recent counselor. They will all have that same drive to help resolved what's problematic between students and families or just individuals in general. The program also involves different steps of the leadership program. Just like the group interventions and the daily meetings that are organized to help the students. I do believe this is another method to promote positivity in the school environment.
The parents will participate in this process if needed or asked too. During the research I had also learned about how important this can really be towards the students. The conclusion of this article just states that this method turned out to be a success promoting awareness it also left a huge impact on the students and families. I enjoy the love school counselors have for the students it always show in their work towards a more satisfying environment.
Moving forward, I would like to share another personal experience I had come across during this semester. This is just something I would do when I'm back at home in Louisville, KY. The times I do visit home which every twice a month to catch with family time with my loved ones. I get out of classes early on Fridays and my parents would come get me when I'm finished with class. While I'm there I would volunteer at this elementary around the corner from where I live at. As soon as I get home I would drop my bags off at home then head to the school. All of the teachers knew who I was simply because both my siblings attended this school.
The elementary school was called Trunnell Elementary, started from kindergarten to the fifth grade. I would volunteer for mainly the first or second graders, I was kind of like a teacher assistant for a couple of hours. I say that simply because I would help the teacher with the assignments that were being assigned and also assist the children. The children adored me I must say simply because every time I volunteered I came with open arms, and sometimes treats for the kids. These children were very bright individuals to be so young, volunteering in a classroom was fun and interesting. The teacher also really appreciated my help, when I was able to attend. While volunteering at this school I had saw several of situations the teacher would deal with daily. Some of the children will come to me, I would do my best to try to solve the situation at hand. First I would definitely inform the teacher before doing anything, majority of the time they didn't care. They were comfortable with me being around and so were the children.
The types of situation the child would bring to me included not sharing most of the times, one student being mean to the other student, acting out physically etc. I had seen the teacher use the method plenty of times, pulling the student to the side and talking to them. If that doesn't work then they will receive a warning, majority of the time she would pull the child aside. So that's what I would do when I had the permission to do so. I would just talk to them asking the student WHY? Most of the children will say “I don't know”. Then will tell me why they feel this way because of the comfort and relationship build with those children. I would just take the time out to listen to the child cries sometimes. And those were the days when I realize their so young, but endures so much at this age. Simply because you never know what's going on at home, with the family.
I might not go frequently but I would say twice enough is pretty frequent for those kids to remember my name, favorite color, favorite cartoon character. There were also times when I would just talk to the children having great conversations with them. They tell me things I don't expect to hear at times. I just try to respond to the best of my ability. Those small little six year olds endure so much, I just try to keep them well occupied while being assistance to the teacher. I try to say a positive thing for every negative they may bring to me or each other. This is another reason why I would love to pursue being a school counselor. Simply because of the troubles a child may go through, how much joy you can bring to that child's world. All by showing that you're there to help, to listen, to resolve, to comfort you as a child and others. I also give out a lot of hugs when I arrive as well. The children come up to me with open arms as well, it just brings so much joy to my heart. It's amazing how I have experienced a piece of the type of field I will soon be entering. I adore the children and the relationships that has been formed, I do feel like I have some type of effect on those children.
Although, that time was great spent with those children. They do encourage me in a sense, striving higher to be a school counselor. I have presented several ways throughout this capstone that all represent ways that are beneficial in counseling stemming from the home environment. The techniques that has been learned and the great information perceived I will put that in consideration. I had an amazing time pursuing the interviews, will keep everything I learned in mind to fulfill my profession. I will continue this streak as helping others while I pursue the career as a school counselor,
Counseling, Leadership, Mentoring, Highly Driven, Hard Worker, Smart, Dedicated.
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