This is a guest post from Adrianne May, an educator, counselor, dedicated volunteer, and part-time scrapbooker. Enjoy!
Currently, I am a seventh grade English teacher and within the first two years of teaching I realized that my calling was not in the classroom but in the guidance office. It became blatantly clear that at-risk students in low-income areas were dealing with social/emotional issues that were hindering their progress in the classroom. I always enjoyed talking with my students and discovering more about their life outside of school. They came to me with their problems and I was a trusting adult that could provide them with some sound advice and a shoulder to lean on. Therefore, I took the steps to become a certified school counselor and began my graduate coursework in January 2008. I recently graduated with a Master of the Arts in school counseling and am looking to find employment in a middle or high school as a school counselor. The search isn’t going as planned and it seems that I’ll be back in the classroom again.
In order for me to keep a peace of mind and to not allow this to defeat me, I have decided to alter my plans of instruction next year. I am blessed with a supportive administration and a great team of co-workers who are willing to allow me to try new and innovative things in the classroom. I do not want to lose sight of my goal and I need to stay actively counseling as these are skills that are only honed with practice. To accomplish this, I am going to turn my classroom into my own guidance office and teach English through counseling. I will be using the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) national model to guide my instruction to equip my students with the necessary skills in the academic, college/career, and social/emotional domains (For more information about the ASCA national model, please visit http://www.ascanationalmodel.org/). What’s so liberating about teaching reading comprehension, vocabulary, and literacy is that practically any piece of writing will lend itself to teaching those skills and discussions about healthy relationships, self-esteem, identifying who you are can all be used to enhance the middle school experience. Essentially, I will be creating developmental guidance lessons to assist my students to be socially and emotionally healthy along with keeping them on track academically. With a new literacy curriculum that I have to utilize, I have a lot of work to do to make this curriculum work for me. I will not work for it. I have a new found excitement about doing what I love.