The Water Lily Way

A school counselor's story of how to live, work and play…the water lily way

we. all. have. power.

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On Wednesday I attended my first Wisconsin School Counselor Association (WSCA) conference. It was actually a three-day event, however my schedule only allowed me to attend one day. I REALLY wish I could have stayed for the entire length of the conference. With that said, I can not wait to go again next year and am looking forward to future trainings and experiences that will allow me to grow as a professional (if you have any suggestions of great workshops or trainings, please feel free to share 🙂 ).

The conference started off on such a positive note, I can hardly even describe it to you. They keynote speaker was Jamie Vollmer, and if you ever have the opportunity to listen to him, I HIGHLY recommend it. His discussion was so incredibly inspirational and really got me thinking about our current struggles in Wisconsin between our state and our public education system (don’t worry, that’s about all I am going to say about that ;)…). Jamie is not a professional educator, nor had he ever really spent much time in the schools prior to when he began traveling around to speak to companies and eventually schools. Mr. Vollmer is actually a director of one of the top-selling ice cream manufacture’s in the United States. Businesses and schools started to request Jamie to speak with their employees in hopes that he would be able to provide advice and suggestions and move them in the right direction… As you can only imagine, these “motivational speeches” did not go very well when he presented them to educators and administrators in schools. I really would have liked to have witnessed some of those… Especially, the “blueberry” story he shared…

Jamie’s journey in helping our public education system really began as a result of his “blueberries” experience (please, please check it out, this will all make a little more sense and it is a GREAT story). After telling the blueberries story, he shared with us the experience he had when he was invited to spend ONE day in an elementary school. It was H I L A R I O U S! And needless to say, he was exhausted at the end of the day (3pm) and couldn’t wait to get home. But he was also absolutely, down right appalled by the unbelievable effort, responsibility, and passion that was shown from all of the educators he observed and interacted with during that day. He couldn’t believe everything that was expected to be accomplished by the teachers, staff and students during the school day. Around this time, he brought out a poster, a very LONG poster I might add. It was titled, “The Ever Increasing Burden on America’s Public Schools.” It’s amazing, its shocking, but everything on the poster is true, and it’s what teachers, educators and specialist are doing every day, each year, in our public schools in America. To wrap this up, the reason for Jamie presenting this speech, and sharing the stories he did, was to encourage us educators, to use our power. Being a businessman all his life, Mr. Vollmer admitted to not knowing a thing about what actually goes on in a typical school day and all that our educators our held accountable for. He challenged a very LARGE group of schools counselors to use our power to advocate for ourselves and our students. To tell and show people all that we do, all that we are expected to do. While educators are some of the most passionate individuals, I believe, in our nation, there are still a ton of duties that we are held accountable for. Personally, I am doing what I do because I love it, as I am sure most teachers, school staff and helping professionals would agree. I love children and teenagers, I love helping people, I love interacting and building relationships with others, I love encouraging others to take risks and supporting them through, and I’m almost positive that all the counselors that were sitting in the auditorium that morning feel this way as well. But Jamie’s words are true, and we, the compassionate and driven people we are, still need to use our power to gain support from our communities and state in order to best meet the needs of our youth.

So as Jamie motived and inspired me to go forth using my power to advocate for my students, colleagues, families, friends and for myself, I am going to challenge you to find and use your voice, and your power as well…

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Jessica

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Author: jesserannp

Professional School Counseling Graduate Student

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