Minute Mentor is a series of posts profiling real people achieving their dreams. It began with the simple idea that “seeing is being.” When cofounders Rick and Faye’s oldest son was born, it was clear he was musically inclined. He was playing piano by ear at age 4 and neither of them ever even picked up an instrument! When Faye remembered an old neighbor who had gone on to become a Julliard trained musician, she immediately reached out to him and said, “What do we do?” He patiently answered all of her questions on how best to nurture her budding musician.
Minute Mentor provides a space for real people to tell their stories so if you or your little one is in search of mentorship on how to achieve their dreams, you can look no further than right here! Sometimes the best inspiration comes from seeing someone that looks like you achieving similar goals.
If you have any questions or comments for the featured guest, leave a comment, and we will do our best to bring it to their attention! Happy imagining!
Name: Tanefa Wallace
Age: 40 and over
Occupation: School Counselor
How hard do you work?
- Lots of Leisure Time
- Typical 40-50hr Workweek
- More than Average
- I never stop working
- Side Hustle/Didn’t Quit My Day Job
- Getting By
- My bills are Paid with Some Room for Fun
- You get a car! You get a car!
Describe your job:
I am a [high school] counselor, so that means that I wipe tears over lost boyfriends and “crazy” parents, and I help students keep their grades up and focus on goals to reach college. I also help students apply [to college] and figure out where to apply to be the most successful.
What education level is required for your job? Tests? Certificates? Years of School?
In order to do my job you have to have a [Bachelor’s] degree and a Master’s degree. You also have to be certified as a School Counselor by the educational district where you are working. In order to maintain your certification, you have to complete at least 6 continuing education credits in your field or CEUs through workshops in your field. The years of school add up! There are 4 for undergrad and 2 for graduate/masters work, then you have to continue to go back to school or to trainings to stay sharp and above the fray! Some schools require exit exams, and if you want to become a Nationally Certified School Counselor, you have to take an exam that qualifies you for that level of work.
“I find that when you are new to your field or want to be cutting edge, you have to seek out the people who are doing what you do well.”
What kind of student were you?
I was [an] on again off again student. I had a childhood that was fraught with trauma so there was a lot of times where I didn’t want to be in school and didn’t live up to my potential as a student. I was a B student with a few Cs here and there but it didn’t reflect my ability levels at all. I was exceptional on all of the standardized testings and was even awarded a full academic ride to an HBCU, including room and board.
Did you have a mentor? How did you meet?
I have one now. I met her through a recommendation. I have had one in every job I have ever had. I find that when you are new to your field or want to be cutting edge, you have to seek out the people who are doing what you do well. Befriend them, get them to give you all of their secrets, and show them your appreciation in ways they will enjoy.
How did you get your current job?
I was picked out of 300 applicants based on my interview and resume.
Is your job family-friendly?
I am able to be a parent and do it without too much pressure. I am in the school system [so] I have the same days off and summers and winter break [as my children]. So, I would say yes, it is very family friendly.
Do you find your work fulfilling?
Yes! I love it. I thoroughly enjoy bonding with the students and assisting them navigate life as they know it, the processes of getting to their goal schools, and [their] lives once they graduate. It gives me a sense of purpose and allows me to use my gifts in service to students and families.
Did you always know you wanted to be a school counselor?
No! I wanted to be a radio DJ. I love music, and [I] love interacting with those types of creative folks. After all, I am a creative as well on my own time.
What advice would you give a parent of a child/young adult interested in pursuing a job in your field?
Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons: love of children and students, a passion to serve educationally, work with the general public, a strong urge to be organized and assist students to reach their goals. Being a highly organized person is a plus! I would also state that being certified and attending an accredited institution would be beneficial to being able to do your job efficiently by creating a strong knowledge base.
You can find out more about Tanefa Wallace:
About The Author
Faye McCray is an attorney by day and writer all the time. Her work has been featured on My Brown Baby, AfroPunk, AfroNews, For Harriet, Madame Noire, Black Girl Nerds, Black and Married with Kids, and other popular publications. Faye also has a number of short stories and a full length novel available for purchase on Amazon. Most importantly, Faye is a proud wife and mother to three beautiful and talented young boys who she is fiercely passionate about raising. You can find Faye on Twitter @fayewrites and on the web at fayemccray.com.