“Ms. Sabine, how many kids do you want make?” “Huh, how many kids do I want to what?” I replied. “How many kids do you want to make?” this was a conversation between me and one of my international students just this past weekend. It was not the typical conversation starter I am asked by my students, but since the beginning of the year until now I have seen my students grow, mature, and show genuine interest in making 1-on-1 connections with their designated counselors, including myself.
After conversing with this student for sometime I recalled when I first was hired and had supervised a detention session. The topic for the students focused on writing about their counselors, or favorite persons in their new lives. This student of mine wrote about a former counselor whom they had grown to like very much. Upon reading the student’s writing assignment I got to see just how much of an impact we counselors make in our students lives.
Being present 24/7, being mentors , role models, and being a shoulder of support for the students we work with certainly brings us closer together. This was one of the major changes in career positions I starkly noticed since I left the classroom teaching role in Korea and took on a hands-on supportive role, working with international high school students residing in New York.
Not only is my position hands-on it provides many positive life influences. Since I started the position I’ve become more focused in participating more within Long Island local communities, local towns, and schools. As a resident of the island I never was actively engaged as much as I am currently, which has been an uplifting source of energy for me since I returned home.
As the head of community service activities with my international program I hope to provide my international students with the same feelings of ‘feeling like a local’ on Long Island. Though they are thousands of miles away from home they are not alone. Here in our international program me and my co-workers together strive to provide a second-home environment for our students both in and out school. Being there for the students is our no.1 goal, and the main reason I believe for why many of my co-workers love our job. We work on creating strong connections with our students; and viewing each other as one big family.
Remembering the conversation with my student once again I am laughing at how casually I replied to their question without trying to blush…
“I’d like to have two, maybe three if able.” “Two would be okay, but I’d like to have three idealistically.” I said. My student smiled and said “…no don’t have three, three is much too many. Just have one.” they said. “Why just one?” I asked curiously. “One is just enough” they replied. “Oh, I agree, however siblings make the best companions” I added. “I agree. I have a little sister who I adore so much” my student said. “I have an older sister who I appreciate so much” I said. “Sister’s are the best” my student said.
Small moments such as these really form a strong impression for the international students that I work with. I am happy to have casual moments such as these, and be a counselor whom they can view like family.