Connecting with students in person

Connecting with students in person

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Connecting with students in person
April 17, 2021

In this year of precautions, isolation, social/physical distancing, and an overall increase in anxiety across the globe, we will likely continue to see effects that we don’t yet fully understand or have the answers for. One thing that we have figured out at Oliverian is that students have responded to remote and in-person support in a variety of ways.

As a counselor, it has been tough to connect with students remotely. The screen can be a barrier to relationship building and your own camera taking in your every facial expression can be very unnerving and distracting. But when I have a student in front of me during a session, we can play chess, go for a walk, watch a video together, or look around the room. Most importantly, we can focus on the subject at hand or just sit silently while emotions play out or thoughts form. We can relate to each other through body language. I can gain insight based on a myriad of indicators in person that I can’t see or interpret through a screen. Sometimes students just need a supportive person to be with them without talking. It’s far easier to comfort and support a student in-person during a difficult moment.

We have done what we have needed to do to address this terrible pandemic, and our sacrifice is not over and there is more to do before we can say that we are out of danger. We will continue to take precautions and do our best to be safe, mask up, sanitize and be distanced. But, there is no substitute for being able to spend time in-person with my students and to help them connect with me so that they can overcome and persevere.

Sharon McCallie-Steller,
Dean of Counselors