Hey everyone, welcome to Encouraging Words for School Counselors. I’m Matt Fleck with Inspire Success. Our theme this month is telling us why you became a school counselor — and we’ve been getting lots of great responses. You’ll hear from three counselors today, starting with Amanda Culhan whose son Carter starts us off.
Why did you become a school counselor?
So in middle school, I had a little bit of experience with some middle school girl, I guess isolation, I would say a little bit of bullying. I had a couple of friends who thought they could only be friends with one particular person at a time. And so a lot of people — other girls — felt excluded. So when that happened, I went to the school counselor a few times to talk to her. And in some cases we would talk with the other friends as well as a group, but it really helped me. And from there, I guess I really admired the school counselor and looked up to her and I thought what she did was really neat. So, next then, I kinda got interested then at the middle school level. And then at the high school level, when I was a junior or senior, I did an internship underneath that same middle school counselor that had helped me when I was in sixth, seventh, eighth grade. So I did an internship with her and then from there, I mean, that just kind of is how it all came to be. And I went on and went straight into school counseling and I’ve never regretted it. And I’m so glad that that’s the profession I chose — I’m happy to have made that decision.
And I personally know there are MANY students and parents who are glad Amanda made that decision, too.
Bradford Goodridge majored in theology as an undergrad, studying to become a minister, but like Amanda, he too was influenced by an adult he connected with at an early age.
In the junior and senior years, we did an internship and I was actually at a church school with a pastor. And just that experience, I was like, you know, I want to be in a school setting. Like, I don’t want to be out at a church where you see people like once a week maybe, like, I want to hang out and talk with kids and help them on a daily basis. And my mom’s a school teacher and also at a church school. And we had a pastor — a young guy — when I was like in sixth grade. He came, and I mean, he was sitting down with us at lunch. He was coming into our classrooms or saying hi to us at recess. And you know, that whole thing, that experience, that relationship with him, that role model, it just really got me to my senior year of theology. And after I graduated with my bachelor’s, I was just like, I don’t know if this is for me. And I got a flyer, an email from my university saying, “Hey, we also have a master’s program in school counseling.” And I was just like, what’s school counseling? Cause I didn’t have one growing up. I didn’t have a counselor. And so when I saw that, I was like, I think this might be for me. So that’s the route I went into. Yeah. Just that experience of having that adult who came down to our level and, you know, spend time with us as kids and realizing, yeah, I want to be in a school setting.
My undergraduate degree was in forestry, which I loved, but which always made my high school students laugh for some reason. Apparently, I don’t look like their image of a lumberjack. And I had many other jobs before finally, and happily, landing on school counseling.
Now, Shelia Patterson worked with a subsidiary of General Motors outside of Detroit for many years before she decided to become a school counselor due to the unrest that she was witnessing around her.
At that time, it was right when kids were starting to hurt each other — in some cases, shoot each other — over things like necklaces and tennis shoes. And I was working with cars and that’s not a bad thing. I think everybody has their area of expertise, but for me, working with cars though important, it didn’t seem as important as working with kids and trying to help them find other ways to resolve conflicts. So I left business and went on ahead and decided to become a school counselor.
Coming out of her master’s degree program, Shelia decided she’d either work at an elementary school or high school, but definitely NOT a middle school. Until she worked at a middle school. And guess what? Yes. She loved it.
Because sometimes what you think you won’t like is what you really enjoy. I think middle schoolers are a blast. They’re hilarious. So I love middle school. Always remember, in my opinion, I always tell students that are coming through the master’s programs: Consider that we are there, not just for the students, but for the adults as well. That has been one of my eye-opening experiences is that our teachers really need us. My office is open to our teachers and my office is open to our students and my office is open to our parents. And they ALL require our help.
So you’re welcome. Not only some great stories about becoming a school counselor, but little wisdom to let us know if you’d like to share your story of becoming a school counselor, simple as pie. Drop me a firstname.lastname@example.org. Check us out on Instagram at inspire success. Just replaced the eye with number one and you’ve got it and be sure to tell your friends about the podcast. We really do appreciate it. And sincerely, we truly appreciate you and all your hard work on behalf of students. Keep the faith and chat with you next week.
So, you’re welcome! Not only some great stories about becoming a school counselor, but a little wisdom, too.
Let us know if you’d like to share YOUR story of becoming a school counselor. Simple as pie. Drop me a note at email@example.com.
Check us out on Instagram @1nspiresuccess — just replace first “I” with the number 1 and you’ve got it.
And be sure to tell your friends about the podcast. We appreciate it. AND, we truly appreciate you and ALL of your hard work on behalf of students. Keep the faith. And chat with you next week.