Monday, August 19, 2013

Introducing Linda's Lessons

Many years ago, Linda came to my school in the position as Instructional Support Teacher. I was thrilled. I have clear memories of Linda when she was a 3rd grade classroom teacher at the urban school where I was doing my elementary school counseling internship. I can remember Linda in her classroom - small in stature but a spitfire! I was in awe of how she handled her room, how she instructed, and how she created such strong relationships with her students (especially those who came to school each day with a host of challenges) and parents/guardians. She is someone who stuck with me and here she was at my school a few years later to share her expertise with all of us! How lucky!!

In her position as Instructional Support Teacher, she quickly became a highly respected part of the school staff. Her teaching experience and work ethic were magnetic in drawing teachers to her for help with struggling students, for ideas on improving classroom instruction, for guidance on behavior management and class management, for help to become better planners, and how to reflect on each classroom moment. Ultimately, she was helping teachers create optimal active learning for all students in their classrooms and intervening with struggling students along the way. 

Her expertise and life experiences made her an asset in working with the parents of the students she was intervening with. She spoke from the heart and even in the most difficult of meetings she was able to say the difficult things with compassion.

Finally, her no-nonsense style paired with respect, care, and kindness made quite an impression with the kids. They all knew where they stood with her, what her high expectations were, and that they would all be treated fairly. They knew that she would expect their best and would be recognized for doing so. If they chose to make poor choices - well, there would certainly be consequences.

When Linda retired a number of years ago, I had a really difficult time adjusting to life in my school without her presence; she became a great friend to me. She continues to be my go-to-person for educational advice and conversation (and for life advice for that matter). We have grand ideas about improving education and instruction for children and many of them went nowhere after we pitched them. Linda is currently teaching at a local college and mentoring some up and coming classroom teachers. 

Why will Linda be contributing to this blog for school counselors? 
As I've said before, I have a passion for great teaching, curriculum, learning (that is why I earned a Ph.D. in this area). I love being in front of a room full of kids during my lessons and I enjoy getting involved with how to intervene academically (and behaviorally of course). The role of the teacher is such a dynamic one - a role I have great respect for. To be an excellent and dynamic teacher it takes a ton of work, planning, vision, compassion, management, patience, and reflection (just as it does to be an excellent and dynamic school counselor). So, I feel that Linda has something to offer to the teachers out there. She will be offering to the teachers what she has learned during her years in the classroom. Tips, ideas, and wisdom for teachers!

Now for the school counselors. Many, many school counselors and many, many school counseling graduate students do not have classroom teaching certifications or classroom teaching experience. I have seen first hand with the interns I supervised over the years and the graduate students I have had the pleasure of working with, that because of this lack of classroom experience, they lack the knowledge of how a school works, the school culture, instruction/interventions, classroom management and behavior management in a classroom, etc. Not that someone can't overcome this lack of knowledge, but it sure does put school counselors in a position of having to prove themselves to the teachers in their building. School counselors need to prove to classroom teachers that they truly understand what is happening behind their classroom door. They have to prove that they can handle a classroom for a lesson, they need to prove that they are able to help students succeed in not only in personal/social development, but in academic and career development. School counselors need to prove that they can empathize with a classroom teacher and truly understand the classroom teacher's struggles, challenges, and triumphs. So, I feel that Linda has something to offer all the school counselors out there. A glimpse into the life of a classroom teacher. She will instruct school counselors about what is happening in the classroom - teaching, curriculum, planning, learning, behavior and class management, on and on and on. School counselors may want to forward Linda's posts to the teachers in their building -- some great reading for them, but also, it will show that as a school counselor, you are making an effort to truly understand their difficult, difficult job.

I hope you enjoy this new addition to Entirely Elementary...School Counseling!

Graphics by: 

Fonts in Graphic by: 
and Krysten Tom

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