What is your name? What’s your position at Eastern Christian School?
My name is Paige Visser and I am the Student Assistance Counselor at Eastern Christian High School.
How many students do you see in a year?
Last year I saw 97 different students and this year I have seen 55 so far. Some students I see only once or twice and others I see regularly throughout the year.
What is a typical day like for a High School Counselor?
It’s hard to say…days aren’t really typical. I guess typical is seeing students for 20-30 minute sessions, checking in to see how things are going for them and talking about ways to manage anxiety, or stress, or friendships, or homework, or loss or whatever else they have on their minds. Sometimes there is crisis which can range from a student in tears in the bathroom who just got back a bad grade, to helping a student navigate a panic attack to conversations about depression. Each day is different which is part of what I like about my job.
One of the things that we pride ourselves on at EC is student safety. This means much more than only physical safety. Talk about how your position helps create a safe culture for students.
I think my position creates a safe culture in a couple of ways. Having a counselor at school give students a safe place to come when they are struggling. It also gives students a place to come when they have concerns about one of their friends or questions about how to handle situations. I also think that having a safe place to talk prevents problems from escalating. When kids have a safe space to vent their feelings with someone who is objective and non-judgemental, most of them are able to sort through their emotions and make good decisions for themselves. All these things contribute to a safer culture at school.
You’re in charge of Timothy Groups at EC. Talk about what Timothy Groups are, why we do them, and how they help students.
Timothy Groups are small groups of Freshmen mentored by two junior leaders for the first 10 weeks of the school year. The groups meet to talk about anything from dating, to decision making, to conflict resolution. Group meetings include devotions, an activity, discussion and of course food. The goal of Timothy Groups is to help new students feel welcome and transition well to Eastern Christian. New students have the opportunity to build a relationship with an upperclassman which facilitates getting answers to their questions and learning what they need to acclimate to their new school. For the leaders, it is an opportunity to be in a leadership position and to look beyond themselves to meet the needs of others. They have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus by loving others and giving of themselves.
What’s the most rewarding part of your role at EC?
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing students grow through whatever they are facing. Seeing a student who struggles with self esteem blossom into more of who God created them to be. Seeing students overcome fears, or anxieties, or grief and move ahead with their lives. Walking through the process with them and being able to celebrate their victories with them, that’s the best part.