Although I work in a school; a great portion of my time is spent interacting with adults; parents, teachers, college admissions reps, coaches, administrators, counselors, social workers, law enforcement, and did I mention parents? As you probably are a parent yourself (as am I), you know that parents come from all walks of life; street smart, farm-hand, business exec; college professor, stay-at-home mom, military dad, and thousands of other career and non-career descriptors.
I get to spend a larger portion of my time however with America’s greatest resource. Our youth. These gals and guys are the biggest reasons why I love my job. Almost every day some kid impresses me in some way, with their accomplishments, resolve through hardship, demonstration of respect toward one another, or just plain good manners.
This may not seem like a big deal at first thought but let’s look deeper. In my role as a school counselor, I may be interacting with an adult one minute and the next minute I’ve got a 16 year old standing in my office doorway seeking advice, help, or support in some way. All day, every day, I’m switching between interactions with adults and teens; constantly.
There are times when I’m amazed at the resolve that some of these kids have shown through hardships compared to seasoned adults I know. There are times when I’m awed at the personal discipline and time-management ability a kid has who is taking AP classes, working part-time to give money to mom, holding a 3.8 GPA, and playing a varsity sport. There are times when I’m inspired by the kid who is so optimistic and full of forgiveness after suffering some horrible situation at the hands of an adult. There are times when I marvel at the brilliance of the high-schooler who is so smart that she has requested to take all classes at the university for her 11th and 12th grades where she’s out scoring most of the adults in her classes. I’m still stunned at the athletic ability of my one student who qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials displaying athleticism far greater than his adult competitors while doing his high school studies at night and on the weekends. I’m honored when a kid takes the time to write a simple thank you card for helping in some way; when all I’ve done is my job. I’m grateful when a teen handles a volatile situation with self-control; at times, more self-control than some adults I know.
That’s why I love my job; because I get to be a part (albeit a small part), of the growth and development of America’s greatest resource; our youth. They are nothing short of admirable in some way, every single one of them.
In my 17th year as an educator (4 years as a teacher, 2 years as a research assistant, and 10 years as a school counselor). I’m humbled and honored every time a former student contacts me to let me know that they are now working on their doctorate, or they are now serving in the military, or they just want to say hi.
I love my job because I get to be inspired, awed, encouraged, and amazed every day. Of course there are days when the kids drive me up a wall, but those aren’t bad days because well, they are kids after all and there is still plenty room for growth!