RHS teachers job share to complete counseling internship

RHS teachers job share to complete counseling internship

Connor Bulka, Staff Writer

The school bell rings and social studies teacher Mrs. Caylan Healy gets prepared for her 4th hour, and first teaching hour of the day. She works as a half-time teacher and half-time counseling intern, along with social studies teacher Mrs. Meg Pierce, completing their Master’s program in counseling.

There are several guidelines that counselors must meet to be certified in the State of Michigan, including a Master’s degree and at least 600 hours of supervised internship. Half of those required hours must also be held in a school setting. This led to the teachers developing the idea for a job share, which also means they earn half their salary and conduct the counseling internship for the experience alone.

Mrs. Healy explains how she became interested in counseling.

“What the ultimate spark of my interest was the suicide of a student here about five years ago who was in my psychology class,” Mrs. Healy said. “It just really made me realize that I could be doing more to help people outside of teaching and really wanted to get into a program where I understand the students better, and to where I could help them more.”

Mrs. Pierce also experience a tragedy prior to her decision on becoming a counselor.

“I had an uncle who I never was able to meet because he committed suicide,” Mrs. Pierce said. “Mental health was always something important in my family as far as experiences that they had had, so I knew I always wanted to be apart of the ‘helping field,’ as it’s called. Teaching was a way to start that. Before that, I was actually teaching swim lessons and then I was able to actually be a teacher for a career, and so I knew that I just wanted to continue to be helping people.”

Sophomore David Latouf explains how having a teacher who has first-hand experience in the counseling field would help him.

“I think it is very helpful,” Latouf said. “ Many students, including me, can find certain classroom situations uncomfortable. I think it’s a good thing because it helps teachers understand individual problems and anxieties that are common in a classroom, whether they’re present or not.”

As for now, it is very unlikely for the two to be in a  full time counseling position in the foreseeable future. Despite the hard work and countless hours they have each contributed to their programs, they do feel as if it comes as a benefit to their ordinary teaching careers as well. Mrs Pierce reflects on what she has learned with her internship, and how it has helped herself and her students in the everyday classroom.

“I think it’s definitely enhanced the way that I teach in my room because, again, now that I’ve been in the counseling office and working with students, I’m working with the student as a whole as opposed to just the social studies kid,” Mrs. Pierce said. “There’s so much more going on in there life that is so much more important than social studies. So just kind of having that awareness has led me to become more flexible as a teacher and understanding to each individual student’s life beyond the classroom. “