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Photo: Quinn Dombrowski
Photo: Quinn Dombrowski

"The tightrope walk: the experience of a guidance counselor through the pandemic"

published 14 May 2021 updated 1 July 2021
written by:

How to deal with the uncertainty of a pandemic, an unexpected lockdown, new technological tools, and a busy routine with children? Being a tightrope walker dealing with this entire imbalance accurately depicts the experience of a guidance counselor during the main period of the pandemic.

In general, I used to structure my working weeks through a multitude of individual and group meetings, as well as with others in of the school From one day to the next, we had to “reinvent ourselves.” (in quotes, because these words are starting to be overused just like the expression “Everything’s going to be fine”).

Given this new situation, I participated in the admission and support of students remotely. I was involved in several committees concerning the integration of teleworking: a task that seemed difficult to achieve in the first phase of the pandemic. Fortunately, as the months went by in the pandemic, the organization of work and the integration of technological tools offered an interesting way to tackle certain tasks for the next school year.

With remote work, I had the distinct impression that people working in the school environment have focused on the services provided to students. As a result, teachers have been able to see our involvement in the students' educational path more than ever.

On a personal level, the Quebec government unexpectedly announced express training opportunities for attendants for long-term care hospitals. Our team was able to process hundreds of requests in a matter of days and keep applicants well informed. We are proud to see that most of the candidates have successfully completed the training and entered the job market in order to meet its needs.

The union has been extremely supportive during the pandemic. It enabled us to better understand the rules related to work and it provided considerable support to the members of our school boards.

Professionals in the education sector are often scattered over a multitude of establishments and the "Network" effect is very important. The sharing of different realities made it possible to better position ourselves as a group in order to better manage the new reality of work versus the varying demands of management according to each establishment.

In short, the fact that we are not isolated and can coordinate brings the following expression to mind: “alone we go faster, together we go further”.

Managing stress and mental health during the pandemic is a real challenge. It is important to be indulgent with yourself, allow yourself to share your problems and reduce your compulsion to perform.

Personally, I tell myself that change is inevitable and that there will be a bright spell after this storm. In the meantime, we are all in the same boat standing our course to support students.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect any official policies or positions of Education International.