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Tag Archives: self-care

KIT With GRIT- Thanks to Military

My school is lucky enough to have a school incredibly close to several military bases. We get to see jet formations all day, we have resources to help with mentoring and presence, and we get a divers student body that has seen the world. For Month of the Military Child, our School Counseling team decided that this year we would thank our military students by sponsoring and inviting them all to an after-school military social.

Fun fact? Kids don’t know what K.I.T. Stands for anymore, but they came up with some good and interesting guesses. Noted. Anyways, we got about a quarter of our invited students to participate (which is a ton), and I think the chaperones may have had just as much fun as the kids!

I found some of the ancient maps that used to hang in classrooms, and we used one for students to sign in and write all of the places they have lived in.

We also did a chalk-walk, where students decorated our bus loop with inclusive and military inspired messages, to greet other students when they walked in the net day. These activities, coupled with music, ping-pong tables, freebies, and (most importantly) ice-cream made for the perfect afternoon! The only criticism we received from he students was that we had waited so long to provide such fun.

Did your school celebrate Month of the Military Child?

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Student Transitions

I have had the most exceptional, fun, laid-back, good kids for the last three years. I cannot even begin to imagine what work will be like after this year as I tearfully drag my feet and throw a fit the size of adolescent attitude move forward and usher in a new group. We rotate at my Middle School, so I will also be back with the littles. It takes adjustment, but it is really exciting to meet a whole new group and start the puzzle all over again.

The 6th graders are so crazy different from 8th graders. It is hard for me to remember my students being those little minis only a couple of years ago. A handful of them cried at the mere expanse of the school, some of those quiet mouths have blossomed, and others walk taller every day. I have also had plenty of time to think about things that may have helped them transition to Middle School and be more successful while there.

One of the things that I would love to know in advance is who will be my frequent fliers from the beginning. How can I help them? I look at plenty of data to get ideas, but who can I keep from flying under the radar for a year causing me to lose essential support time. So I got an idea to send some SOS packets to Elementary counselors. They know them best, they have lived with them for the last 5 years and they have all the dish I need to know who to approach and how. Imagine the time saved in rapport building to already have an in!

I gave each of our feeder schools’ counselors a couple of SOS envelopes, and asked them to write their frequent flyer students a letter that might help them when the hormones hit the fan in Middle School. I can pull them out and have a link for the kid to an easier, more familiar time. I also included some CLMS swag so that they can give some away and also have Middle School stuff around their offices. I figured this might subliminally add some face-time for us.

When I’m not wagging my finger speaking with my 8th graders, I start to imagine students in 5th grade and what they are doing. They have no idea how different their life will be, and I can’t wait to see another group grow and experience.

Be good

Who do you bring with you to work? One of my first feelings of inspiration as a counselor came early on in one of my counselor sub positions. As I started to feel close with the kids, and learn about their home lives and barriers, my perceived solutions often came from family advice I had been given to me at one time or another. When they were surprised by kindness, support, belief, and tough love, I began to feel more and more sad that these kids did not have such resources at home. I was raised in a gloriously crazy, large, ambitious family where there are copious and equal parts joy and work. I started wishing I could share my tribe with all of my students, and give them the tradition and fierce love I have been lucky enough to grow up with.

Since I couldn’t have my family members all come to work with me everyday, I realized that I could bring them in spirit. My paternal grandmother who had limitless optimism and faith in each individual; my maternal grandmother, a Sicilian matriarch who worked as hard as she expected of us, and loved with such conviction you had no choice but to believe in yourself; my aunt, who has lived her life with a disability and was more active and dreamed bigger than most able-bodied people. So many huge personalities come with me every day to work, and I try to be a channel to my kids so that they too can grow up with these lessons.

I am constantly telling my students, “be good” – sometimes softly, sometimes pleadingly, and sometimes with warning. My grandma always ended conversations with this simple expectation, and now that I’m an adult I see how meaningful it is.

Who do you bring to work with you? What is the endearing phrase that you use easily in your hallways, but that weighs generations of love?

Summer Crafty Therapy

Self-care is alive and well this summer while I’m off. It’s crazy how creative and motivated I am with this time off. I can feel the urge to get back into work and care mode bubbling, but I am trying to ward it off.  I will either have some new additions to Etsy, maybe a flea market, or a surplus of Christmas gifts, but either way I’ve got a ton of ideas and mojo and it feels great! I’ve done some crocheted washcloths, keychains, and another scarf (with another in queue)!