“The counseling program is all about empowering students to choose for themselves”








Hello #SISRocks ! This week on Teachers of SIS, we are happy to be highlighting Elementary Counselor Dallin Bywater. Dallin walked me through elements of the counseling program and how he empowers and builds confidence in our students.

Here are his responses to the questions:

What did you want your students to know or understand?

What I would really like my student to know and understand is that as a person they’re worthwhile human being who should be respected. And that … each one of them have talents and abilities whether they know about them now or not. And that they can learn more about themselves and use what they learn to benefit their life and those around them.

So part of it, I think, is about empowerment.

The counseling program is all about empowering students to choose for themselves, to make healthy choices, and to make choices that they’re happy with. And if they’re not happy with them, at be least okay with and know that they can change if they’d like to and make improvements in themselves.

So, if there’s one thing I want them to understand it’s their worth as individuals an that that idea comes from them, from within and not from other people.

What skills did you want your students to gain?

Some of the skills are about leaning how to be self aware, learning to notice how they react to certain situations, learning about how they feel and knowing what makes them feel good / bad about themselves – what they’re angry about as well as what they’re passionate about.

Also, equipping students with ways to manage those emotions that we all have. Going back to the first question, all these emotions that we have are a normal part of being human. And being angry, jealous or upset is not a bad thing – It’s part of who we are. And it’s more about how we manage those emotions in a way that allows them to do things that are in line with their values.

How did you teach this lesson in the past?

For them to really learn these skills / awareness they need to see it in action – they need to see it in adults. With that, I really try to find as many contexts where the students see me managing my own feelings, having hard conversations with people but also being clear in my communication with them. Essentially reinforcing the ideas / attributes they are learning about in school.

Also, just the fact that they have a model allows them to think of what they want to be – its not us telling them that “you’re going to do this because you’re good at x…” That’s something that they’re going to come up with as they learn about themselves and gain confidence with the skills we’re teaching.

How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?

As I was thinking about this I didn’t really see much of it as new methods…but more so as applying things that we already know…For example, we know that children learn by seeing and doing. So, whether it be role-playing in the classroom, showing them videos that model appropriate behaviors or even better real time interactions with you, they’re seeing you treat them with respect and they see that you’re actually listening to what they saying – these are the teaching moments that register and stay with the children.

I guess it not so much new methods but really being mindful of what we know and that it is okay to say “ maybe I could have done that a little differently” so that they see it in action.

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