Beauty in Diverse Forms

May 11, 2023

I have wanted to be an educator for as long as I can remember. I can recall spending Saturdays at the schoolhouse with my father, assisting him with grading papers and preparing his room for the next week. Additionally, I remember playing “school” with my sister and engaging our Barbie dolls with new lessons. These experiences encouraged me to dive into the education field and exert a positive change for all diverse students. 

Currently, I serve as one of the school counselors at an elementary school and I have been in this capacity for six years. As a school counselor, I get to make connections with students from various grade levels, personalities, and walks of life. It is truly a passion! I provide classroom guidance lessons, small group counseling, and individual counseling services to my students. We work on a variety of skills such as self-esteem, grief, and anger management. My goal is to increase the social/emotional, academic, and career development of all my students. The coolest part about working with my students is that I get to move up with them as they progress throughout their elementary school career. For example, if I am assigned to kindergarten, then I will move up with those students until they leave for middle school. It provides us with the opportunity to build unbreakable bonds, learn their specific needs, develop close relationships with families, and work with all faculty members to provide those students with the best education possible. It helps me to target the whole child and offer relevant services.

I am most proud of the strides and leadership skills that my students develop over time. I love watching them become their own person. I have experienced them using their voice to communicate their feelings, express their wants, and take the initiative to join new groups. We celebrate their successes and analyze their downfalls in a way that they can learn something from them. One thing that I have learned over the years is that children are very resilient, and they are more willing to engage if they have a trusted adult that takes an interest in who they are and builds an authentic relationship with them. Moving up with my students has aided in this process. Not only do I challenge my students to be the best versions of themselves, but they also hold me accountable and expect the same from me. We bring out the best in each other and it is a bond that I would never trade. 

Ultimately, being a school counselor is a rewarding career. You get a chance to interact with all students and impact change on a large scale. You get the opportunity to work with many community partners that believe in your vision to provide your students with the support needed to become productive members of society. You get to teach your students the importance of taking care of their mental health and following their dreams. Furthermore, students get the opportunity to practice life skills such as becoming a leader, a good friend, productive student, and managing their emotions in a space where they feel safe. In the end, we get to embrace all the beauty that comes in diverse forms and encourage students to blossom into the person they choose to be.

Dr. Dana Edwards is a native of Lynchburg, South Carolina. Currently, she is an elementary school counselor and has been in the education field for six years. She enjoys working with her students and spending time with her family and friends.

The Elevating Teachers blog is a platform designed to elevate educator voices. It’s a space to share stories and tips for maintaining a sense of purpose and wellbeing in and out of the classroom.

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