Saturday, August 29, 2015

Why I became a School Counselor Part 2

My journey to become a school counselor happened soon after I became a teacher.  I did not want to become a school counselor because I did not like teaching. I loved being a teacher. I do love learning and wanted to continue my education and plan a career move to administration. I strongly believe that everyone has a story.  My story began when I was six years old (this is the exact time I decided I would be a teacher) and my course changed when a tragedy struck my family (a few years later).  This tragedy did not deter me from my goals. It only pushed me more and more.  I used something so devastating to accomplish my goals and to share my passion for education.  

Anyone who knows me well knows that I was destined to become a teacher. However, I did not know that I wanted to be a school counselor.  Looking back, I did not really connect how much I would be helping students like myself-I LOVE learning- and students like my brother.  My brother was this cool guy that I looked up to and one day he was just gone.  Now, I get to help students who feel alone and be that person that they can count on.  My journey to becoming a school counselor came from making a career move and as the years went it on it became a true calling.

I had the idea that I wanted to become a school leader-administrator.  I wanted to change students’ lives and by being a school leader, I thought that would put me in the exact role to do exactly that. Before I would go back to school to become a school leader, I wanted to get a master’s degree in another area to give me more knowledge. I was interested in a Multicultural Education program because I was working with students from diverse backgrounds and I wanted to learn more about the educational system.  My principal at the time advised me to look into school counseling programs. The school district I worked for hires school leaders who have an expertise in an area such as school counseling. I did some research and applied to a school counseling program at a semi local, well known university. Right before the school year ended, I found out I was accepted to the program. 

I knew that it would take me at least 3 years to complete the school-counseling program because I was a full time teacher. I was ready to learn and put in countless hours of studying, working on group projects and just trying to balance everything.  The program was a good fit. As a teacher I was kind of doing the academic and college counseling and I knew I had to learn more about personal/social counseling. 

I found a job right away at an all girls private high school. Then, I was hired at a public charter high school in Los Angeles. I knew I wanted to work in a public school. That is where my heart is.  I wanted to make a difference and feel a part of a student’s journey.  Over the years I have grown so much in my position, have taken on leadership roles and planned events I was not too excited about.  I am more comfortable with personal/social counseling even though I do not get much time for it. Some days have been rough but most are rewarding.  I look forward to going to work every day.  I am in a career that I am supposed to be in and that is the greatest feeling in the world.  I made the decision to not become a school leader although I completed the master’s program and am currently working on finishing the credential (the program director is reviewing my documents now!).

The year just started this month and I know time will fly by (because it does every year!) so I am going to take in every moment and try not to be too stressed. 

If you’re thinking about becoming a school counselor, I say go for it! Do what you think is best for you. Yes, you probably have already heard that getting a counseling job is a challenge, but it can happen.  Stay passionate about what you want to do and you’ll find a job out there.  Like other advice you’ve read volunteer at a school, read literature about school counseling, look into LPCC or MFT programs, behavior analysis credential can give you an edge, etc. ,etc.  Do what is best for you. 

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