Day 241. Ode to School Counselors

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Today, I filmed the courtroom show. I’m not going to reveal anything about it, I’m sure one of the papers I signed swore me to confidentiality, but after the show airs I will talk about it more. I will write a post soon so it is fresh, then post it after the show airs. The name of the show is We the People, with Judge Gloria Allred. Set your DVRs, they said it could air as early as next week, but probably after two weeks, and will be available on Netflix. Let’s just say it was awesome and my character was an angry man accused of breaking another man’s leg, and my “wife” had 1/12 the intellectual capacity of my real wife.

Michelle works as a school counselor and she shares stories with me all the time (obviously without using names). I can say with certainty that school counselors are vastly under appreciated, they’re the unsung heroes of the school. I would say that janitors are also unsung heroes, but are recognized as unsung heroes, which makes them sung, and, in turn, takes them out of the category of unsung heroes, leaving the school counselors as the real unsung heroes.

School counselors deal with scheduling students and angry parents and a lot of their jobs are administrative in that way, which makes them heroes based on that alone in my book because that sounds like a strange hell for a brain like mine. All of that stuff is great, but I’m not as concerned with that here.

What I mean is that so often Michelle, as school counselor is the only person in the kid’s life that listens to them, or the only person who has taken an interest in their well being, or is the first adult who cares for them as an individual. I only understand this as a concept because I was blessed with numerous adults in my life who cared about me, but that is not the reality for so many of these kids. Often it is the only unconditional love they have experienced.

Many times Michelle will be crushed with compassion for a kid who shares the tragedies of their life with her. It weighs on her somedays. Sometimes she is so upset that she couldn’t do anything to help a kid. Or, she’ll be upset that the tragedies, which can be random occurrences, and systemic tragedies created by numerous people over more than one generation are too deep to be fixed. But, I encourage her that I’m glad that the kid had her there at that moment, it may be the only bright spot in this tough time, or the only one they’ve known.

We spend most of our lives trying to avoid difficulty, both in our lives and others, but the school counselor drives towards it. They’re the ones that jump in. So many of the twelve year old kids that Michelle works with had more tough times in their lives than I’ve ever had, and she works in a fairly average town in a fairly average state. This is repeated over and over in schools across the country.

Michelle works with one girl who has real mental and emotional issues. She has been in and out of trouble with school, and has been harming her body in various ways. It has been very difficult for Michelle because the girl requires a lot of attention in the school and means that Michelle has to include a lot of different people so that the girl can make it through her school days. Just last week the girl gave her some small trinkety little gift. It wasn’t a big thing at all really, but it was a big deal for this particular girl to do something like that. That is how school counselors get paid.

I just admire the work that Michelle does so much and I get choked up when she tells me stories because I feel lucky that I am married to someone who makes the difference that she does. Michelle doesn’t realize that she is doing something so big because she’s in the middle of it, it takes reminding. I think that is what the rest of us can do is just remind the people who do this kind of work.






Filed under Daily Update, Poignant

3 responses to “Day 241. Ode to School Counselors

  1. Andy Walser

    You mean “THE” Gloria Allred? As featured in the hilarious film Ratrace!?!?!

  2. Michelle is pretty dang awesome and a difficult and trying job.

  3. Rick Parks

    Very touching story. Cheers to School Counselors and Teachers, too.

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