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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Educator Spotlight: Melissa Ferguson

Hey, y'all! I hope if you're back to school that you are having a wonderful week back and if you haven't went back, then....I am super jealous (haha)!

I must say I am impressed and a bit skeptical all rolled into one. I blogged earlier in the week and my hopes were to have a post each Thursday. Fingers crossed I can stick with it! I am excited for a new "segment" on the blog. It will be called Educator Spotlight. I don't know about you all, but I learn the most from others. Everyday I learn from our teachers, from fellow administrators, from our paraprofessionals, and central office staff. I enjoy talking about education and getting ideas from others. It's so neat hearing a totally different perspective. My vision is to interview different education professionals to ask questions, share their ideas, and have the chance to celebrate how awesome they are. Megan and I may be doing this on Principals with Purpose (you can find that here), as well. So, be on the look out for that!

Today I am super excited to share a little Q&A with a sweet friend of mine. She is the counselor at the school I work at and is a past Kindergarten teacher (teacher of the year to be exact)! Her name is Melissa Ferguson and I thought since it was her first year as a counselor, it would be a wonderful opportunity for her to share her thoughts so far. You would never know it's her first year because she is rockin' it. She also has a new blog called Classroom to Counseling and you can check it out HERE I am beyond excited to read this. Melissa is a wealth of knowledge and I learn so much from her. I have a feeling it will also be quite witty (think Lorelai Gilmore).

So, let's start. 

1.      What has been the biggest change going from the classroom to counseling?

There are two changes that really stand out for me going from classroom to counseling. The not having anyone else on my campus that does what I do.  This is especially difficult, when it is your first year!  I remember my first year teaching, when I didn’t know something, I just went next door J. But now, when I don’t know something, it requires a phone call, email or car drive.  It really did feel like an island at first.  When you are teaching, there is always someone right there to bounce ideas off of, put out fires with,  commiserate with, look at (you know the look – “Oh, my gosh! Are they kidding me right now?!?!”), laugh with. With teaching, you have built in relationships with your class and with your team. You also have built in teacher support on every campus, in the form of administrators and specialists.  With counseling, I have to cultivate that support and sometimes it is not easy to do, when the litany of things that I trying to figure out is ever looming!
That transitions nicely to the second biggest change, going from being very confident in what I am doing, to being reminded EVRYDAY of all I do not know and still need to learn J.
All that being said, I do feel like I have won the 1st year counseling lottery by being on campus with the magical Melanie Acker, not many people get to have an AP that was a former counselor!  Also, my principal and everyone on my campus has been so supportive and welcoming, it has really helped!
           What's your favorite activity to do with a student on a first visit?

I love, love, love coloring/ drawing with students.  We can talk and share our drawings and it really helps to facilitate conversations.  It also gives them a chance to know me! 

3     What would be your advice for new counselors?

·         Find your person, both on campus and off.  Someone to talk to, cry with, laugh with and keep you accountable.

·         Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know.

·         Try out as many documentation systems as you need to, to come up with what works for you.

·         FOLLOW THROUGH – no matter what.

·         SAY SORRY – when something comes up and you can’t follow through until laterJ.

·         Don’t be afraid to ask questions – LOTS OF QUESTIONS!

·         Schedule time during your day for programming.

·         Laugh A LOT!

·         If you are not humble already, you will be…and that is ok.

·         Practice empathy – EVERYDAY!

·         I could go on and on, but I leave it at that…for now J

 I love her advice for new counselors. I think it can apply to all of us in education. My favorite piece of advice that I agree with 100% is "If you are not humble already, you will be....and that is ok." I believe this statement to be so true because we make mistakes, we don't know everything, and each day we are learning together. We have to be humble and give grace because heaven knows we will sure need it some days. At least, I sure feel this way!

You can check out Melissa's blog HERE
You can follow her on Instagram: @ferguson451
You can follow her on Twitter: @clsrmcounselor
Follow her on Facebook at:  Classroom to Counseling

Also, you can now follow Megan and I on Twitter for those of you who read Principals with Purpose
My Instagram & Twitter: @melroseacker
Megan's Instagram & Twitter: @megangist

Thank you so much, Melissa, for being on the blog today. I hope you all have a magical day and thanks for stopping by.

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