If you've read my About Me page, you'll know it has been my life-long desire to write children's books. For almost 50 years I secretly wished for it and thought about it often, but I never took action.
"I could never be a real author," I told myself.
When I started teaching more growth mindset and goal-setting lessons, I realized how hypocritical that was.
So two years ago, I dipped a pinky toe in the Lake of Dreams and joined a local writers' networking group. That led to me wading in up to my waist and joining a critique group. Then I ducked my head under and started writing instead of only saying I was going to write "some day." Now I have three polished picture book manuscripts (all of which will be excellent for counseling lessons for grades 2-6).
I'm ready to jump from the high dive.
Super George and the Invisible Shield is with the illustrator, and should be a real-live book by the end of the summer. I'm beside myself with excitement but more than that, I'm proud of myself. I'm proud that I stopped listening to my negative self-talk, set a goal for myself, and achieved it. I hope that Super George will help lots of kids in the future, but for me he'll always be the thing I can point to and tell kids, "See? Believe in yourself. You can do it!"
Next up: a pet monkey.
The other day I got a lovely message from a reader (I just love saying that---thanks, Rebecca!) who is a new school counselor. She wanted to know if I had any special advice for someone who's just starting out.
I've been doing this job for over 20 years yet still feel like I know nothing. However, I gave it the old college try:
When you're new, much depends on what you're legally required to do, whether the position is new or if expectations are already in place, and what kind of administrator you have (laissez-faire or micro-manager).
Do you have to provide direct services for kids on IEPs or 504s? Many counselors don't---it's against ASCA recommendations--- but it's a HUGE part of my job; this past year I had 43 kids I was legally required to see weekly for the entire year.
Yesterday was a pretty tough day, as school days go: three IEP meetings (one of which lasted two hours), missed sessions (and therefore upset kids), a trashing of my office followed by a restraint, and a sexual abuse disclosure. It kind of sucked, frankly.
But I've noticed that even when a day has been filled with extremely difficult issues, there is always at least one little something that will make me smile. Yesterday it was this note slipped under my door:
And in this way I was notified of "The Great Boot War of Room 303."
After I showed a few people the note and stopped chuckling, I thought about how this student---who is on the autism spectrum---would have handled a similar conflict when I first met him last spring. He would have had an absolute screaming fit. He would have hit Naya (who obviously started it, with her space-hogging boot). He would have been sent to the office and likely suspended.
But now, he asks his teacher if he can write me a note telling me what happened. He was still livid, but he didn't do any of those completely out-of-control things he would have done a year ago. And more importantly, he seems to trust that I can help him feel better and we can solve his problem together.
I have a blackboard with this quote on my office wall, "Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day."
Don't forget to look for the "something good."