Will Rogers College High School counselor Erica Walker has been nominated for LifeChanger of the Year! Check out the interview below to find out what she loves about working at Rogers.
How long have you been at Rogers?
This is my 24th year with Tulsa Public Schools. I started out at Anderson. I was at Anderson for six years and then moved over to KIPP Tulsa and was one of the founding teachers there. At Rogers, it's been counseling.
Can you talk about like what are your main responsibilities and how you help students?
The main responsibility of a school counselor is to help students in the areas of academic, social emotional, and post-secondary or career. I would say my position is primarily academic, where I'm constantly monitoring grades, credits. I'm 12th grade counselor here at Rogers and have been 12th grade counselor as long as I can remember. I like working with that age and grade level, but it does have as challenges.
I'm always looking at the new ways to learn and grow. If I am indeed going to be with 12th grade, then I got to figure out a way to build relationships. I've gotten into the classrooms a little bit more than I have in the past. A couple times this year, I’ve just walked into a class ‘hey remember me? I’m Ms. Walker, 12th grade counselor. Does anybody need anything?’
Right now, the entire counseling team is working with course selection for next year. We’re going into classrooms and talking to students about picking classes for next year. I chose the 11th grade because 12th grade won't be picking classes for next year. I'm going into all the 11th grade classrooms talking about picking classes for next year and then I've been working with them one-on-one. I'm making sure they're picking the right things.
Why did you want to be a counselor?
I knew that I wanted to be a counselor early on. I knew that I wanted to do something outside of the classroom to still be able to help students.
What's your favorite thing about Rogers?
My favorite thing about Rogers is going to be the students. I think we have the best students in the state. I would say that 99% of the time if I've had a bad day, it had nothing to do with a student. Then I would have to say that we do have a supportive staff and our administration are real supportive of the work that we do. I just feel like that we're all here for the students.
How do you feel about being nominated for this?
At first, I was really surprised. It's a nice feeling to be recognized. I have experienced so much success because of some of the people I work with.
How does it feel when you're at graduation and all the students that you helped are getting to walk?
It’s amazing. It really is. I do have some come in and say thank you. I always like hearing that.
Is there anything else you think people should know about you or your job or your school?
I believe we have great counselors within the district. I like the fact that I have several in the district that I can call or email or reach out to and some of our district leaders that work with counselors. I just really feel good that I can reach out to any of them and get help when needed or get a question answered.