National School Counseling Week is coming up (February 5-9, 2018), and it’s a huge reason to celebrate! But it’s also this time of year when I know some fellow school counselors feel discouraged. We know that teachers, administrators, secretaries and others enjoy appreciation days or weeks where they are showered with gifts and celebrations. Many counselors feel under-appreciated and unrecognized already, and a week where they are expected to build up their own program can feel like just another thing on their plate.
But here’s the thing: NSCW isn’t an appreciation week. It’s a week to promote and celebrate your school counseling program. It’s a week to help advocate for a profession that is still misunderstood by SO MANY people. It’s a week to show stakeholders why your work matters so much. It’s a week to show off all of that fancy, meticulous data you’ve been collecting all year long.
I know it’s discouraging to feel under-appreciated. We’ve all been there. But let’s think about it this way: this is an opportunity to demonstrate some of that self-love, confidence, and personal advocacy that we teach our students. This is an opportunity to show others just why counseling is important and all of the ways that it’s changing the school community. This is an opportunity to start a conversation about why school counselor positions are so vital in the education system. This is an opportunity to open the door to discussions about mental health, a topic that is still often swept under the rug or discussed in hushed tones.
Because much of our jobs are done behind the scenes, behind closed doors and in vulnerable moments, appreciation may go unsaid. Often, the students we are working with are so entrenched in the trauma they have experienced they cannot even express what you mean to them, and that’s okay. You are doing work that matters. You are changing lives. You are there for the kids who need you the most. You are changing the future for children and your community, and that matters.
So counselor, know this: you are appreciated. Even if you don’t have a bouquet on your desk from your coworkers or if someone says, “Oh I had no idea there was a Guidance Counselors Week” (I’m cringing just typing that), your work matters. Your community appreciates the work you’re doing even if they don’t know it yet. They appreciate the strong, positively contributing citizens you’re molding. The future school counselors of the world appreciate the groundwork you’re laying to show others that this position matters.
And I appreciate you. I appreciate your investment in kids who need someone like you.
So as you begin looking for some ways to celebrate National School Counseling Week, check out ASCA’s page for promotional materials! And read more here about 9 easy ways to get eyes on your program during National School Counseling Week. Happy National School Counseling Week to you and your amazing program! How are you celebrating?