Hello, fellow school counselors! I can't believe how long it's been. I've quietly added to and organized parts of my site over the last 2 years, but for the most part, I've been absent.
So, what have I been up to?
Well, I have an almost three-year-old and a fourth-month-old. I started my 8th year as a school counselor. I acted in 5 plays: The Heiress, Blithe Spirit, The Birds, Circle Mirror Transformation, and Steel Magnolias. I took some much-needed "me time." Overall, I tried to heal from my website-related anxiety. I became so worried about everything I posted that it truly hurt my quality of life. Now, I feel like I can come back, even if just once in a while, and actually enjoy the process.
I want to thank you for being such an amazing group of readers. I am lucky to have your support, enthusiasm, and professionalism in my life. Please know that while I may not be able to respond to all of your emails, I still appreciate you - it just comes down to how much time I have available to give. Now that I have 2 kids, I'm sure you can imagine how much time that adds up to. ;)
Here are some things I just added:
You can find all of these "Is it Rude, Mean, or Bullying?" lessons here.
The Essential Moving Guide for Families: Practical Advice to Ease Your Transition and Create a Sense of Belonging is a wonderful resource to share with families. The book is divided into three main sections: Before the Move, Preparation and Moving Day, and Settling in After the Move. Each part provides insight and practical advice to help your family every step of the way.
Moving is a huge change - you are truly uprooting your life and trying to grow in new soil. If not tended properly, parts of your life may begin to wilt. There may be unexpected hurdles, weeds that threaten to grab hold of you, but with the right support and a little sunlight, you can bloom and flourish again. This book is that sunlight.
I was also impressed with a section in the back of the book called "Tips to Assist English Language Learners." This provides the readers with 10 easy ideas to help students feel welcome and supported in the classroom, such as pronouncing his/her name correctly or keeping your language short and simple.
Often, adults and children want to help, but need opportunities to discuss and practice these skills. Chocolate Milk, Por Favor! is a wonderful way to open a dialogue about helping English Language Learners feel comfortable in their new environment. I highly recommend this book for all classrooms!
It's been a rough year, to say the least, but also a great year. Lately, however, some of the bad has begun to outweigh the good, tarnishing the shiny bits of my life that I cherish.
So, it's with a heavy heart that I announce that I'll be taking a break from my website. I will finish the reviews that need to be published, but after that, I hope to rest. I love my site and the idea of sharing ideas with such amazing colleagues. The problem is my stress level. At this point, my family and my school need a more relaxed me. The pressure of this website has just become too much and hasn't been as fun as it used to be. Recently, I have lost sleep and had a resurgence in anxiety - my perfectionism, my negative self-talk, and my insecurities have woken up with a vengeance, like the three-headed dog at Hogwarts.
In the end, I have to do what's right for my family, my friends, my school, and myself and lull that dog back to sleep. I may be back, but I'm not in a place to make promises. Thank you for your support over the years. Best of luck to all of you!
Over the past few days, I've posted a bunch of new resources on the website portion of my site. Here are the recent additions:
It's been a huge adjustment for me. Now, I have to walk around my building apologizing to students and staff for cancelling groups, rescheduling sessions, and skipping classroom lessons. I feel like a failure and a disappointment most of the time.
Now is the time for a little perspective. In the grand scheme of things, these tests don't matter. These limitations have been placed on all Ohio schools (and other states dealing with the same tests) and all we can do is take a deep breath and do the best we can with what we've been given. It doesn't mean that we stop fighting for our students - we just have to accept those things we cannot change immediately.
Last week, my school had a Valentine's dance for 4th-6th grade students (no dates, just fun). Before the dance, I was upset about the lack of time I had to be a REAL school counselor and was dealing with the stress of being pulled in too many directions - the last thing I wanted to do was add more to my plate by chaperoning a dance, even though it was my choice to do so. I cannot tell you how happy I am that I went to the dance. It was wonderful seeing my students in a more relaxed setting, dancing like goofballs and smiling like this was the best night of their lives. I was able to enjoy the people they are and not the "data" they represent on paper. This is why I wanted to work with children - they are fun and make my life brighter with their unique perspective on life.
I figured that many of you might be in the same boat, plugging the little holes before you are engulfed in a sea of negativity, stress, and responsibilities. So, here are some reminders about the beauty of our students:
You could also use the self-reflection paper in an individual or small group setting. When students understand their behaviors, they are more likely to control them, rather than be controlled by them.
My name is Marissa Rex and I am a 1st Grade teacher and an elementary school counselor from Ohio. I hope you enjoy my site!