Sometimes, I find that I really don't need to talk to kids; sometimes they are already talked out. They have shared their story a hundred times already, and while they may need a place to collect and put themselves back together, they really just need a quiet spot. Sometimes this can be while we wait together for a parent to come and pick the student up from school, sometimes it can be while we wait for the next class to begin, and sometimes we wait because there are just no words for the moment.
Silence is OK. It may seem awkward, but it is really fine. Silence allows the mind to focus on the reminders that have been given, the skills the student has learned and needs to put to use, and the body to relax. Silence can be the tie that binds two people together.
I like to sit next to students when they are angry or upset. We sit on the coach in the main section of the counseling office. I let them make their grouchy faces and sigh their "UMPPHS" and moan their distaste for whatever has brought them down to see me.
Side by side is best. Sometimes, after what can seem like an eternity (while really only minutes) I will ask, "Ready to talk?" From there we usually have a great conversation and the student already knows I will wait for them to answer, and when they do I am ready to listen. They know I have waited for their answer. I am not going anywhere. I have sat waiting, patiently, for them to share.
Other times my desk is the quiet spot. I have already talked with the student and their parent, and we wait for the student to go home. Perhaps the student will be going back to class, but we decide that it would be best to start at the beginning of the next class. . .there is 5 minutes to go. The talking is done. Now is reflecting time.
It is during these times that I use journal pages. Journal pages are great therapy. It is quiet and reflective. I love these sheets from Grace Is Overrated Blog
These sheets are a cinch to print off and hand out, and they take little time to complete. Plus with some colored pencils are just too cute. I always give the kids the option of taking them home or putting them into the shredder. 99% want to bring them home, and they ask me to print out more so they have them for home as well.
Do you have a quiet spot in your office? What do you do with silence?
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