Union Springs Elementary School Counselor Lisa Szewczyk is new to Union Springs, but not new to the field of school counseling. She has been working in school districts throughout Upstate New York since 2004, joining the Union Springs staff last year.
“I really like the small community,” Szewczyk said. “It seems like everyone is really interested and invested in education here.”
Union Springs elementary school counselors interact with students in a variety of ways, including teaching Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in classrooms, meeting with groups of students with similar needs and one-on-one sessions with students. Although her workdays are always different and she enjoys the variety in her schedule, Szewczyk says that she enjoys meeting with students individually most.
“If someone is really struggling and feeling down, or not wanting to go to class, then they are smiling, and I see their face light up because they recognized their own growth,” Szewczyk said. “To me, those are the moments that make me love doing this work.”
Szewczyk also commented that post-pandemic, things look a little different.
“I think mental health has been on the forefront of everyone’s minds since the pandemic,” Szewczyk said.
Students may have more behavioral issues such as school avoidance or having difficulty sitting still and focusing on something for longer periods of time. She also noted that the use of electronics and screen time has increased.
As for taking care of her own mental health, Szewczyk says that she enjoys walking, hiking and practicing yoga, noting that she is a certified children’s yoga instructor. She is also a big believer in talking things out.
“I think when we talk about our feelings, that’s healthy,” Szewczyk said.