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Eddie O'Keefe

Guidance Counsellor
Conne River Mi'kmaq First Nation School
Eddie O'Keefe dans un cart de golf
Eddie O'Keefe dans un cart de golf
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

About me

I was born/grew up in: Corner Brook, NL

I now live in: Conne River, NL

I completed my training/education at: I completed a Bachelor of Physical Education and Education degrees and a Masters of Education (Counselling Psychology) at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

What I do at work

A typical day for me would include activities related to student and teacher support. The beginning of my day begins with answering correspondence through email and telephone. I then create a priority list of things to do that day. Many of the activities that I perform are reactive. This means that I address what comes through my door at any given moment. This can include career counselling, individual counselling, assessment, parent meetings, and accessing services for students.

I do not perform or use anything directly in the STEM field. I use my desktop to access programs, fill out applications, use career programs, and score assessments. I like to use self-exploratory solving strategies. These allow individuals to self-realize the processes to follow when faced with problems. I will then follow up with cognitive behavioral therapy .

Guidance counsellors face decisions that are often made with other people and under different circumstances. The decisions that I make are person-focused. I try to allow for personal growth and to work in their best interests. I have to make allowances if an outside agency and other people are involved. As a result, these decisions are complex and need consultation with other people. I always try to find common ground with my colleagues. I have always found it to be more useful when both people are working towards a common goal. In every environment, I have always worked as an administrator or consulted with administrators. As policy drivers, it is important to have a good relationship with them to advocate for your programming.

My career path is

I never expected to do this work when I was in high school. In fact, I never had any desire to attend post-secondary school. I was a troubled teen and school was far from my list of priorities when I was 17. When I finished school, I went to work in a paper mill. After working in the mill for two years I made a decision that if I was going to be happy, I had to get more schooling.

My former teachers were very surprised that I ended up where I am. I have always remembered this and, as a result, I never give up on children. The impact that you have is not readily noticed. I have done several internships, two at high schools and one at an inpatient rehab center. Once I started post-secondary school there were no unusual twists or turns. Guidance counselling became an interest to me when I started teaching. I interacted with many troubled teens and realized that the majority of them seemed relatable. I shared many of the same experiences that they had.

Many people have interacted with me and guided me in a specific direction. With teaching, an older colleague mentored me to pursue the field of counselling. He saw qualities in me that were suitable for the field. I learned the skills necessary to work in the field, and to interact with supervisors and administrators. The only challenge that I have had in my field is combining administration and counselling. This has found me acting in a disciplinary role and a non-judgmental one. This is a challenge for all guidance counsellors, as they are often required to teach and do guidance. It is only this past seven years that I have had no duties other than guidance. This allows children to have easier access to me.

I am motivated by

There are many activities that I enjoy at work. I am a trained physical education teacher and I spend quite a lot of my time with students in extracurricular activities. This helps me to build rapport as well as having teaching moments with the students. I find that time spent with these students is a tremendous pay off. Kids are more receptive to hearing and implementing what they learn from us. The variable that makes this work rewarding and appropriate for me is that no two days are alike. Even after doing this work for 25 years there is always something new that I have never seen before. It provides me an opportunity to vary my time and the activities I do.

How I affect peoples’ lives

There are many things in my job that are fulfilling. Everyday I go to work there is something new that indicates how important my role is with young kids. There are many individuals in our communities that are not content with the choices they have made. I view my position as essential in getting the right information to these individuals at the right time. This can affect people in their immediate lives as well as in their future.

Outside of work I

I am an advocate for physical exercise. I often train many of the kids at our school as well as coach our sports teams. My volunteer work includes travelling with kids and coaching them. I weight train and walk regularly. I find I must maintain structure and routine outside of the workplace. I find physical activity to be therapeutic.

My advice to others

Research and then do more research. Talk to as many people as you can and find out what is good about their work and the things that they do not like. You will never find a job that is free from negatives but you can minimize them. Visit institutions that offer these programs. Find out how the program is delivered, whether it is theory based, hands on, or a combination of both. The program must suit how you learn best.

I am Indigenous

I am of indigenous descent and I am a member of the Qalipu First Nation in Flat Bay and the western part of Newfoundland.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • History
  • Foods and Nutrition
  • Physical Education/Health
  • Technology
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Liked helping people
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Played on a sports team
  • Was motivated by success
  • Learned best “by doing”

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