School Counselor, Author of Mr. Fisher’s Counseling Blog
About James: James Fisher is in his twelfth year as the school counselor at Vantage Career Center, where he is the only school counselor for about 400 plus students. He earned his masters in school counseling from the University of Dayton. Prior to becoming a school counselor, James owned and operated a small business with his wife in Delphos, Ohio for eleven years. Before moving to Ohio, he was an automotive engineer for over fourteen years. He earned his engineering degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan and went into automotive engineering right after school. When he then left the automotive industry, he was Vice-President / General Manager for a company that did dimensional analysis using simulation math models to predict the build of the vehicle. He thinks his diverse background is a real plus when working with the students, and as he always tells them, “You never know where you are going to end up.”
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] Why did you originally create a blog about school counseling and your work with your students?
[James Fisher] The reason I created a blog for the students and families was because I realized with the students today, they are very tied into social media and get most of their information from social media sites. I felt this would be a good way to reach all of the students and their families, not just some of them.
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] What do you hope to achieve by maintaining Mr. Fisher’s Counseling Blog?
[James Fisher] What I hope to achieve is to keep sharing ideas with the students, faculty and families. I want to be able to make the blog interesting enough that the students enjoy reading it but still pick up some information that will help them during the school year and maybe even beyond.
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] What type of support do you think is essential for students to succeed in their career goals?
[James Fisher] In dealing with the career goals of our students, I am very involved in supporting them. The one thing that I feel is important for the students to realize is their potential. So many of our students have such awesome talent and sadly many of them don’t realize it. We are a career technical school, so I have the opportunity to see these students in their labs and witness the talent levels of our students. Whether it is in a welding lab, electricity, cosmetology, health careers, etc., it just surprises me all the time how well trained and how talented they really are. I try to encourage the students to see how far they can go in life. Even if they do not want to pursue the career that they are studying now, they can use it in their future. We have several students who want to go on to college and become RN’s or Engineers but they have no idea how to go about that or if they can even make it in college. I get them to start believing in themselves and believe that they can be successful in college or a great career.
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] In your most recent post “Farewell Class of 2017” you remark some motivational statements to your students. What was your inspiration to help your diverse student population achieve their potential and beyond?
[James Fisher] In my “Farewell Class of 2017” blog I did what I do almost every year and that is end the school year with the words from one of my favorite songs by Rascal Flatts, “My Wish.” The song has so much meaning for the students as they head out into the real world. I want them to have a chance to not only listen to them but actually read them and think about what they have to say. I have heard from several graduates that they have actually cut out those words and pasted them on their mirrors at home. I believe in ALL students and their chance to succeed in this world. I don’t treat them any different no matter their sex, race, religion or culture. They are all so unique and full of life and potential. They just need someone to remind them that they are special, they are talented and they are loved. I always hope to be that person that will remind them. I also want them to realize that they can come back after they graduate and talk with me anytime they want.
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] Now that the school year has come to a close, how will you prepare for your position at Vantage Career Center and Mr. Fisher’s Counseling Blog for the upcoming academic year?
[James Fisher] I really enjoy the two months that I am off over the summer. I have a chance to reflect on the past year and look forward to the new year. I always keep my eyes open to the blessings of every day. I try to relate my summer experiences with lessons that I can use in my blog to teach the students. It may be a walk on the beach, a bike ride, a vacation with my family or just sitting around on a warm breezy day in my backyard; there are always opportunities for life lessons if we only keep our eyes opened for them.
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] You have offered a great amount of support and guidance in your blog posts across the board! For students who may struggle with defining their goals, what guidance would you provide them to form clarity?
[James Fisher] When students have trouble defining their goals, I try to help them find what they have a real passion for and also a talent that will support that passion. I often hear people say that you should find your passion in life and just go for it. They want them to make a career out of it. While I agree with part of that statement, I also believe you have to have the talent or be able to develop that talent. You have to be able to make a living out of that talent. There are several interest inventories that a student can fill out to see if that will help them, but as a school counselor, I believe it is our job to help explain the results to the students and explain all the career fields that would be available to them.
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] Is there anything else you’d like to add?
[James Fisher] In closing, I would just like to say that I love my job and I hope that all counselors everywhere love what they are doing. We took on an awesome responsibility when we chose our careers and it is up to us to continue to grow and keep updated in our career fields. I hope that the school counselors reading this would never let the paperwork, the testing, and other daily chores stop them from servicing their students. Remember why you got into this career and treat each and every student the same. Truly love them and care for them and above all, let them know that. Say hello in the hallway, greet them at lunchtime, acknowledge a birthday, I promise you, it will go a long way in helping that student succeed not only in school but in life.
Thank you, James! Learn more about James’ Mr. Fisher’s Counseling Blog on our Counseling Blogs list.