February 2018

President's Letter: Set Students' Path to Discovering Who They Want to Be

By Lori LeBrun
This year, as my sixth graders entered middle school for the first time, I wanted to start the year off with a theme. I felt it was important to set the tone right away for their upcoming three years in middle school. I based the theme on the idea of “Thinking about the Future.”
Therefore, when our excited, new sixth graders entered the building, they saw signs reading, “Welcome Sixth Graders! Grow, Learn and Discover Who You Want to Be.” My hope was, from the first day in middle school, students would be encouraged to think about their future. As students progress throughout middle school, they do, in fact, grow, learn and discover who they want to be. And through that process they begin the journey of identifying certain paths, decisions and learning experiences that might lead to a career in the future.
Part of this process also involves students thinking about what their passions might be and identifying activities that they enjoy doing every day. By sharing in this conversation with students on a continuous basis, we school counselors are activating an understanding of their strengths and interests, which could possibly lead to a career path in the future.
Yes, it is true that the elementary, middle school and even high school brain may not be ready to make a decision about what a student would like to do as a career in the future. However, starting these conversations at an early age can help students discover pathways that will allow them to start to explore opportunities in middle and high school.
We all have opportunities to help our students grow and learn, but guiding and encouraging them to discover who they want to be can lead to what may become the most fulfilling and satisfying part of our profession. Here’s hoping that 2018 is a year of discovery for us all.
Contact Lori J. LeBrun, RISCA president, at lebrunlori@coventryschools.net