This weekend, I was reminiscing of what I was doing this same time last year. What popped into my mind was the following:
Well, it was nearly half way through the school year and I could confidently say that things were in full swing. I conducted classroom guidance lessons for all of my second graders on tattling, which was identified area of need. I completed “at-risk conferences” with all of my 7th graders and their caregivers, when possible. I collaborated with an English teacher and have integrated my career exploration workbooks into her 7th and 8th grade curriculum. My intern has developed a keen understanding of how a school counselor functions and is working quite well independently.
And while these tasks and many more have been accomplished it has not been without difficulties. In fact, when I reflect on the process of this success, one phrase comes to mind “Welcome to Crisis Wednesday.” I don’t know what it is, but it seemed like you know what hit the fan every Wednesday. It got to the point where I would grace my presence into the student office and greet the two office assistants with “Good morning ladies, welcome to crisis Wednesday. Are we prepared for the day?” Although I was making light of it, there was a lot of truth to it. I believe it was helpful in doing this, as both staff members were prepared to handle students and guide them appropriately.
I will never forget one particular Wednesday last Spring. The day began at 7:30 a.m. with a student study team meeting that my intern and I both attended. While in the meeting, there was a student that was vehemently asking to speak with me as it was imperative. So, the office assistant interrupted and pulled me out of the meeting. My student, Joe Bob*, proceeded to tell me about the traumatic incident that occurred the previous night involving police raiding his home for drugs. Thankfully, my intern was able to stay for the remainder of the meeting. By 8:30 am, I had decreased Joe Bob’s stress level and he was able to attend his first period class. At 9:00 am, I was greeted in my office by the current Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) president who wanted to inform me of some unsettling behavior that she had witnessed over the weekend. She proceeded to tell me about a group of students, all of which I knew very well, who had participated in some bullying activity at a church carnival. By now, it was nearly 9:45 am and I needed to do some last minute preparations for a classroom guidance lesson on time management and organization with a group of 6th graders during third period. Ah, recess…15 minutes of “frequent flyer” and unexpected visits! One of which was from Emily, a 7th grade girl who was concerned about her best friend’s recent withdrawal and suspicion of self-harm. Due to the sensitive nature of the matter, I ushered the girl into the corner of my classroom and asked my intern to kindly move to the front door area and address the needs of any students attempting to enter the room. After gathering the pertinent information from Emily, recess was nearly over and I gathered my materials and headed to Mrs. Smith’s classroom. About 20 minutes into the lesson the public announcement system was utilized and was paging me to come to the Administrative Office immediately. Apparently, I forgot to take my walkie-talkie with me. Thankfully, my intern was able to continue with the rest of the lesson. Upon my arrival at the Administrative Office, I was met by a county social worker who wanted to interview a student regarding a recently filed child abuse report. At the student’s request, I was present in the conference room, while the interview was conducted, for more than an hour.
And to think, all of this occurred before the lunch period was even over…
Sandi Logan is school counselor and currently a doctoral student in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at University of Florida. Prior to pursuing further studies, she worked as an elementary and middle school counselor in Southern California.