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Self- Evaluation

By Doug Hatch

When I have an interview for counseling jobs I try very hard to make them understand how much I have grown just through my classes at Buena Vista over the past three years. When I entered the program I had some basic skills that I knew would transfer over well into the counselor position, but along the way I refined and sharpened those basic skills, and picked up a lot more. I was an empathetic person who cared a lot for his students and athletes, but throughout the program I identified numerous ways I could use those strengths, improve upon them, and really help my students as well as myself. A quote I reflect upon often for all things in my life is never get tired of doing the little things for others. Sometimes these little things occupy the biggest parts of their hearts. I also use that with my own saying, never tired. As a counselor I can never be too tired to do any little thing that will help a student, even in the smallest way. My professors at Buena Vista taught me to trust and have confidence in myself, and my cohort showed me I have some worth in this life. I knew how to set goals and work hard but it was through our coursework, the cohort, and the professors that I began to realize I had something to offer to others. After obtaining my first 7-12 counseling position I began to realize even more so all the great things Buena Vista had taught and prepared me for as a counselor. Right away during my first session with a student the program began to kick in and got me through the very demanding first year as a high school counselor. I worked hard at building relationships with the staff and students, and having the knowledge I had gained

through the Buena Vista program to fall back on was very helpful in establishing me as a creditable counselor, someone they could count on and trust. I used my cohorts and professors for advice and help to make it through that first year also. This course and my fist couple years as a counselor has allowed me to evaluate myself and look at my strengths and areas for improvement (I dont like using the term weaknesses). My first strength are is standard 5 Career development, education, and postsecondary planning; assist students in the assessment of their individual strengths, weaknesses, and differences, including those that relate to academic achievement and future plans. The Buena Vista program has provided me with a great background of understanding how to help each student to find their strengths and build upon them. My counseling in a breath was Strength and Effort. Build upon your strengths and take joy in giving your best. I now use the results of various tests to help them find their strengths as well as everything we learned from the counseling classes, the mindset book book by Carol Dweck, as well as our final book Brief Counseling That Works, by Gerald B Sklare. All of these ideals play right into my philosophy of building upon their strengths. My counseling session, small group, and large group all center around building their dreams for them and helping them to find their way using their strengths. My second area of strength I have chosen come from standard 9. Classroom management; apply effective classroom management strategies as demonstrated in classroom guidance and large group activities. I came into the guidance program as a veteran teacher and those skills have carried directly over to this standard. Through our course work I have expanded that area in small and large group guidance activities. I now teach 2 guidance classes, a team building small group, and a careers large group through I

have a plan Iowa. The things I have learned at Buena Vista and my cohorts have allowed me to expand on this standard and make it one of my personal best. I myself become easily bored so I use various teaching and counseling methods that I have developed or learned about in every class I teach. The cultural things we have learned along with information, and just the different style of each professor has allowed me to greatly increase my teaching style toolbox. My normal class consists of a different activity about every 10 minutes, where I build upon their strengths, stretch their possibilities, and try to accommodate all the different types of learners. My final area of strength would be in standard 10 Curriculum, writing classroom lessons including objectives, learning activities, and discussion questions. I have written out, published, shared, borrowed, improved upon, and leant out many, many lesson plans. I really enjoy a well-written lesson, and I love perfecting it by constantly tinkering every session until it is closer to perfect. I have written up a 5-week career course that involves many different aspects of things we learned throughout this program, and also things I have learned or borrowed from my cohorts. My areas that need improvement concerning the State of Iowa School counseling standards and benchmarks would start out with Standard number 2. Social and cultural foundations; demonstrate awareness of and sensitivity to the unique social, cultural and economic circumstances of students and their racial/ethnic, gender, age, physical, and learning differences. The program has prepared me well for this standard through coursework in Social and cultural foundations of school counseling and Consultation, leadership, and advocacy roles in school counseling but my lack of experience in dealing with multi-cultural areas leads me to believe this is a weakness of mine, one that I can

definitely learn more about. I feel very fortunate to have experienced and interviewed people throughout these past three years in circumstances far different from my own, and that has helped me a great deal. The more tears I accumulate and perhaps a changing population in Iowa, or even a move to a bigger school will allow me to bolster this standard. I plan on attending many workshops and seminars in these areas to help my understanding also. My second area would be Standard 4 Group work; Implement developmentally appropriate interventions involving group dynamics, counseling theories, group counseling methods and skills, and other group work approaches. This where experience comes into play, or rather a lack of experience. I have not conducted many small group counseling sessions and I learn more with each one I do. I can draw from my teaching and classroom experience to improve upon this standard. I plan on dong many small groups in the future so each one I do will help me to obtain a stronger hold on this standard. I have a toolbox full of lesson plans from our Group Guidance class, and several books to draw from that we have used throughout the coursework. The final standard that I need improvement in is from Standard 7; apply knowledge of professional and ethical standards to the practice of school counseling. The main reason I choose this standard is that I feel I can always learn more about this area. There are so many approaches and interpretations of the law that this is one that I feel I will always feel needs more work than the others. We went over the counselors ethical code from ASCA several times, but feel I could read it a 1000 more times and still need further study in this area. In our first class and in our second we thoroughly covered confidentiality and ethical standards, but there is always a slight twist or turn that changes

things. I want to be able to understand every dilemma as a lawyer would, and make sure I am protecting my students, my school, and myself as well as I can. In closing after I have looked at m areas of strength and needs I can see that my experience in teaching has helped a lot in counseling and that my lack of diversity and counseling experience has led me to my weaknesses. I can also see that I have already developed a plan of action to improve my areas of need and to build upon my strengths. I was just asked for my strengths and weaknesses as a counselor the other day, I now could give a very complete and honest answer,