This is National School Counselor Week, and in that spirit, we decided to talk to one of our newest school counselors, Kelli Watling, who is midway through her first year as the Primary School counselor.
Beyond the Gate: How did you decide to become a school counselor? How long have you been working as a counselor?
Kelli Watling: I decided to become a school counselor during my senior year of college. I completed an internship in an elementary school and saw the importance of the role. It also showed the impact a school counselor can make on a child and how much help they can offer. This will be my 9th year as a school counselor, with each year full of excitement!
BTG: Tell us a little bit about your job -- what kinds of things are you doing in an average day as a counselor at the Primary School?
KW: Every day can be different and that is what makes it so exciting. Typically, I spend my days in classroom guidance meeting with all of the students. I focus my lessons on teaching students skills they can use in every day life such as conflict resolution, managing emotions, and self-reflection. I also work with students in small groups as well as individual counseling. A big part of my job is being an advocate for kids, parents, and teachers.
BTG: What are the most rewarding parts of the job for you?
KW: The kids! They bring so much laughter to my day and make every day exciting. It is wonderful when you see the growth a child makes. Part of my job is giving kids the right "tools", but it is their job to put it into action. It is so rewarding when you see them make that change.
BTG: How has your first year gone at the Primary School?
KW: I absolutely love it. I could have asked for better administration, teacher, parents, and students. Everyone has been so welcoming. The excitement in the Primary School is contagious and you feel the love when you walk inside the building. It has already become a second home.
BTG: What advice would you give to those out there who are interested in becoming school counselors?
KW: My advice would be to spend time shadowing a school counselor to get to know the role and see the wonderful benefits of the job. I would make sure you have a true passion for helping others, a compassionate spirit, and an ability to practice self care.