St. John has always been an athlete, and being part of a team has been a defining characteristic for him. A school counselor for 16 years, he sees a parallel between teams working toward common goals and his work as an educator.
What did you find meaningful about the master’s in school counseling program at Saint Rose? The fact that throughout the program, the professors did require us to get outside of our comfort zone. They required us to think outside of our own thought processes, to challenge ourselves, to be vulnerable. In class, we were asked to share some personal things and to almost set up a group kind of therapeutic setting. And that required us all to trust each other. I’ve taken that to this job quite a bit. On a daily basis, I’ve asked families and students to trust what we’re doing.
How has the role of the school counselor changed over the years? The role of this job has changed considerably. I think when I refl ect on the work we do now – the onset of anxiety disorders that exist in our current culture – we spend a lot of time in this office triaging situations that are anxiety-related.
So, you find yourself kind of thrust into the middle of all that and trying to navigate and help families and students. I think we spend a lot more time in that realm while we are at school now. At the end of the day, it’s not a therapeutic setting, but sometimes it gravitates that way, and it’s just a shift.