Due to recent political events, school counselors are in an unusual position. We are the heart of the school, and it is up to us to educate both our faculty and students on proper behavior.
Talking about what is happening makes us (adults) uncomfortable. We are not used to discussing issues such as race and religion in our schools. Our classroom rules encourage everyone to “work together nicely”. If a slur occurs, we may say, “That’s not nice, say you are sorry.” However, we rarely explain why a slur isn’t nice or why it is hateful.
Due to our discomfort, we may skirt the issue. This is because we:
- Don’t know what to say
- Don’t want to get into trouble with the administration
- Feel alone in trying to teach these issues
- Don’t want conflict that might eventually involve parents
- Feel that school and religion don’t mix
- Feel that we don’t have the skills to lead such a conversation.
These are all valid fears. As counselors we must become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Remember during your training, there would often be long periods of silence during a counseling session. Remember how uncomfortable that initially felt? Over time, you learned how to use the silence as a therapeutic tool. Once that happened, you were no longer uncomfortable.
This is the same feeling.
I am working on a lesson plan to help you talk with your students about racism, bigotry, race, religion, & ethnicity. I hope it will help you in your work as a school counselor.
I am sure more issues will be coming in the future. It is my personal goal to be in the fray with you, providing you with fresh, relevant materials. Remember, we can ALL be good citizens!