What’s Right With Our Schools: Outside the classroom with Appling Middle School Counselor
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Schools counselors are faced with tough jobs: developing students mentally and emotionally.
Donna Turner has been in the education field for more than 12 years, and says for the last two years she’s been helping students at Appling Middle School in Macon cope with life using personal experience.
“When you say you love somebody, you make a sacrifice for it,” says Turner.
She adds she loves each of her students, and aside from coaching them through tough decisions, she enjoys receiving visits from them in her office and encouraging them to become better students and citizens.
Teaching runs through Turner’s blood. Her parents were former educators.
“It’s rewarding,” she says,”I actually get paid to do what I love. That’s called being blessed.”
She has several goal for her students, which include: building character and creating opportunities.
“My concerns for my students is to be healthy: emotionally, socially and mentally,” Turner adds, “I want my students to know that nothing is impossible for them. There are no limitations on you.”
Her job entails helping kids involved in child abuse cases, those who plan to commit suicide and students who perform poorly in class.
“It’s up to you [students] to dream big, to have faith, to have hope in your future and to know that you can be anything that you want to be,” Turner says.
A message she reminded herself of during personal tragedy. In 2004, her son died in a car accident. He was a 20-year-old student attending college at Fort Valley State University.
“I never knew that he would go before me. I never knew that.”
Her life took a different route.
“…I had to change my identity. I was no longer a mother.”
She leaned on faith when loneliness sunk in.
“God told me…He said Donna I have so many children for you to love.”
Turner believes by sacrificing time, effort and attention for her current and former students, she is helping them become more successful.
“You can take anything that’s happened to you and you can feel like you’re a victim, or you can feel sorry for yourself or you can feel sad,” the counselor adds, “I choose not to do any of those.”
“Instead of looking at the death as a loss, it’s a gain for me.”
What she gained healed her and in return helped Turner heal others, which is why the counselor does not plan on leaving the education field anytime soon.
“A friend told me this-she said Donna you work hard, but you don’t just work hard, you work from the heart. I said girl, I like that. Thank you for telling me that. I never thought of it that way.”
If you have an idea for What’s Right With Our Schools, email Taylor Terrell at tterrell@41NBC.com.