What exactly is “creative school counseling?” The short answer is anything that takes your counseling to the next level. Gone are the days of the brick and mortar counseling where people just walk into our offices and expect a quick fix. We must try new things and do new things. There are so many ideas, strategies, innovative everything, that we just need to try. Remember that old saying, “There is no use in reinventing the wheel.” Someone else has probably already done the groundwork for you.
Our students are being bombarded with information at an exponential rate of megabytes per second. The world is literally at our students’ fingertips. What used to take days to find and research now takes only seconds. Information used to take days to travel around the school but now that same information can circulate around the entire city in seconds. We have to adapt to the change. We have to be ready for the next best thing.
Trying something new can be scary, but it does not have to be. Especially in the school counseling realm. It is simply taking what you are good at, passionate about, your hobbies, and finding a way to incorporate them into your program.
Are you someone who enjoys going to the gym? Create obstacle courses around your school or outside. These obstacles can lead to several life lessons such as overcoming something difficult, perseverance, team work, completing a task and so much more. Are you someone who enjoys yoga? Bring in mindfulness activities to use with your staff and students. Start a Yoga club in the mornings to benefit everyone. Are you a nature person or an outdoorsy type? Take your students on a hike and show them how they can appreciate the simple things like grass, flowers, bugs and plants, then use those to teach other life lessons. The flowers need the bugs to mix the soil and pollinate, and bugs need the flowers. That symbiotic relationship is similar to how friends work and schools succeed. Even taking your students for a walk outdoors instead of sitting in your office is proven to have great benefits.
Then there is the dreaded word: Technology. How can you use Snapchat, Reddit, Instagram or Tik Tok to your advantage? Could you send out information using social media? Could you create quick videos and post those on social media sites? Google has so many extensions that can make our lives easier. Google docs (Word), spreadsheets (Excel) and slides (PowerPoint) are just as easy to use and multiple people can work on the same document at the same time. Making our lives easier is the point of technology. Some school counselors use Google Forms to collect data. The best part of Forms is it will collect your data and create nice charts, form layouts and even spreadsheets.
If you have questions, ask. If you are stuck, Google it. If you do not know where to start, ask a school counselor friend. Many teachers are using 21st-century skills to guide their teaching so do not be afraid ask a coworker.
So, pull up those boot straps and get out there and try something new. To steal and rewrite a quote from one of my favorite movies, “The Incredibles,” when it comes to trying something new and different: “What. Are. You. Talking. About?! YOU ARE A SCHOOL COUNSELOR! Pull yourself together [as you are hit in the head with a newspaper]. ‘What will you do?’ Is this even a question? You will show your school that you are incredible and you will remind them who you are. You know where the issue is, so GO, confront the problem. Fight! WIN! (And call me when you figure it out, darling, because I enjoy our visits.)”
Daniel Lee is a school counselor for fourth-eighth grades with University Schools in Greeley, Colo., and the current CSCA president. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.