Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Finding my Voice

I've spent a few years in a bit of a professional rut of sorts.  One where I felt like my wheels are spinning.  Like my job isn't that important.  But seriously-ask that one student who went to a school counselor with that one giant thing they couldn't tell anyone else, how important the school counselor is.

Pretty damn important.

The truth is, I've lost sight of my professional identity.  It has been whittled away by scheduling, paperwork, office moves, assignment changes, chasing after new positions that were not attained, others' attitudes, and by allowing those outside of myself to define my professional worth.

That ends now.  I have been at this job for seven years.  Nearly eight at this point.  (I mean, it is the second semester, so that counts for something, right?)  Not to mention the four years of teaching English.  I have had enough of waiting for value to be placed on what I do.

Ask the students who have graduated while I've held their hands through mountains of correspondence classes, career tech applications, open enrollment paperwork, and found them homes because their parents kicked them out.  They will tell you how vital my job is.

Ask the students who came to see me when they felt no one else on this planet even knew they existed. But I did.  Ask them if school counselors matter.

Ask the students who slip notes under my door about their (ex boyfriends, stepfathers, moms, brothers) abusing them because they are not able to say it aloud.  Yet they cannot take it anymore.  See if a school counselor was important to them.

Talk to the teens who used to cut, but instead come and hang with me when the urge hits.  Or the ones who have relapsed and confess this tearfully, only to hear me say "It's okay.  We will start over.  Today is new.  You are not a bad person." Ask them if school counselors are important in their recovery.

Call the parents who keep me on the phone with questions about the teenagers who baffle them because just yesterday they were perfect elementary students who listened and today they are sullen and sulky with crazy dyed hair and kohl lined eyes.  The parents who see me after graduation and thank me for being there when their students would only talk to me and no one else.  Ask those parents if school counselors matter.

I am tired of being asked "just what do you do?"  I am tired of being relegated to a minor role.  I will no longer let this happen.  Because I am important.

I am your child's biggest cheerleader.

I am your child's ray of light on their worst day at school.

I am the advocate for each student, no matter who they are.