If you’re the only counselor for nearly 500 students in grades 6 through 12 like Chastity Sward, you HAVE to have a good sense of humor. If laughter is the best medicine, this podcast is contagious.
Welcome to another week of Encouraging Words for School Counselors. I’m Matt Fleck with Inspire Success. We love all the stories we’ve been receiving from school counselors this year from all grade levels and from every corner of the country. But especially those that make us chuckle and our guest today, middle and high school counselor Chastity Sward has one of those infectious laughs and a couple of stories that just cracked me up. The first is from what she says was her first real job as an elementary school counselor, right out of her master’s degree program.
A big part of my job, I felt like I learned, was educating people who you are and what you do, kind of the PR piece. And I did different things for that at all the different grade levels, but I had lunch duty and — which I didn’t mind because it did allow me to, you know, I was visible to the students and I got to meet them, and all that. And then I don’t know if this was the first day of school or not, but it very well may have been. And I was in the cafeteria and it was the kindergarten through second grade — their lunch — and the kids were coming in and getting seated. And I was just kind of making my way around the cafeteria telling them I’m Mrs. Sward. I’m the school counselor. If you need anything, you know, you can come and talk to me, I’m here to help you however I can. And this little girl, she just turned and looked at me and, “I can’t get my milk open.” And, and it was like, well, you know, that is what you need help with right now. And I can help you with that. So it hit the message home to me, you know, to meet them where there are and take care of their immediate needs. And sometimes that’s what they need. Especially at that age.
It’s sort of what counselors do, right? Meeting students’ basic needs before anything else.
I was thinking, you know, personal-social, emotional, you know, not that you do that kind of stuff at lunch, but that was what I was trying to get across to them. And then this little girl — she needed her milk opened, she needed help with her straw.
It’s sort of like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. First, the milk, then I’ll tell you about my social-emotional, personal issues.
That’s exactly what I thought of. I thought those are your basic needs. And for all of us, until we have that stuff taken care of, we can’t move on to the next part.
Well, I hope one of your basic needs is humor because we didn’t stop there. Chastity had a few more stories to share.
My mom was a school nurse for almost 30 years and she had a couple of stories, but one, she had a little boy come in the health suite and he had red spots and they were itching. And she said to him now, have you ever had the chickenpox? And he looked down, he was kind of puzzling, and he looked up. He’s like, no, but I’ve had chicken nuggets
For some reason, there’s a McDonald’s theme underlying a lot of our stories.
I’m sorry to keep going. But same elementary. And this student I believe was kindergarten and you know how we celebrate the hundredth day of school. And it was the hundredth day of school and it was a big deal. And they had their celebration and, you know, celebrating, being in school a hundred days and a little boy got up and went to his locker and got his coat and his book bag. And he thought he was done! And the teacher said, well, Johnny, what are you doing? And he said, well, I’m going home. And she said, well, we’re not done. You know, the school year is 180 days. And he just, his shoulders sunk and he was, he turned around and goes, well, who in the hell’s idea was that? That we go to school 180 days. Not a hundred days.
Alright, alright, we’re cutting it off. But if laughter is the best medicine then, well, I hope we’ve given you some antibodies to help you through your week. Many thanks to Chastity and all the counselors who have shared their stories with us.
Now we’re focusing the next few weeks on stories from your first year as a school counselor. Was there a funny or touching incident that left a mark on your memory? We’d love to hear it. Drop me a quick note to firstname.lastname@example.org or click the link on our website at inspiresuccess.org/podcast. And you can also find us of course, on Instagram, Facebook, blah, blah, blah, all the social media outlets or whatever they call them.
Hey, have a delightful week. And if you happen to find yourself in a drive through ordering chicken McNuggets, let us know that our subliminal messaging has been working.