School Counseling from Home
With COVID-19, working from home has taken on a whole new meaning. Many school counselors left their schools one afternoon and weren’t able to return the next day. Others had more notice that their school system was closing and were able to gather materials. Now school counselors are tasked with creating online lessons and figuring out the best ways to interact and support students while keeping information confidential.
Some of you might be thinking, “This isn’t school counseling. How do I do this from home?” And you are right. This isn’t what you are used to. This is a “new normal,” and many school counselors are struggling with the idea of what it means to be a school counselor in this digital setting.
You’ve checked in with your families, posted resources, added materials to Google Classroom or Blackboard, recorded yourself reading books, put yourself into the specials rotation, and offered up virtual meeting times to connect with your students and families. After doing all of this work, the lack of response can be deafening. Now you are feeling defeated because you don’t think you aren’t having the same impact you had when working students and families in person.
Many families are also trying to figure out their new routine with these changes. Schools provide structure that so many of our students need, and parents are struggling to provide that same structure for their children while working from home and managing everything else that is going on. You may feel that families aren’t appreciative of everything you have done so far, but you must remember that families are also feeling overwhelmed and trying to find that balance and new meaning in their lives just like you are.
Take this time to reflect on your school counseling program and work on any changes you might want to make. This could be a good time to take that online class you have been interested in or read that book on data that you keep meaning to get to. Start planning for next year and what you might want to accomplish in the future. But remember to take care of yourself too.
You are appreciated for everything you do and have done to support your students, their families, and your colleagues. As you move on with the rest of your school year, join the online classes and see the warm welcomes you receive from your students. Once everyone settles into this new routine, parents will reach out to you for support. Teachers will once again ask you to check on that student who hasn’t shown up for their online session and ask for your help problem solving whatever issue came up that day. As time moves on, you will find meaning in being a school counselor again. It might not be the same as before, but it will happen.