West Plains Guest Column: Trustworthiness

Cassie Costello and Family

Cassie Costello and Family

Trustworthy is the PACE character trait for April.  As a former school counselor and now teacher I’ve learned a lot about trustworthiness, working with students and families.  To be Trustworthy means to be someone that others can trust and count on to be reliable.  Trustworthiness is essential for healthy relationships including your relationships at school, work, at home and in the community.  Being able to place trust in a person means that you have faith that they will follow through on a responsibility or keep something safe.

We can lose or damage our trustworthiness by disregarding our responsibilities, breaking promises and telling others’ personal information.  Evaluating whether you are able to keep a promise and being honest when you are able to meet a task or not, is an important step in being trustworthy.   Owning up to your mistakes and limitations, will help others to trust you.  I used to think I had to say yes to everything in order for people to like me or think I was a hard worker, but I often over committed to things I couldn’t complete, which could make me seem unreliable.  Now I’m better at being realistic with myself and saying no thank you to things I just can’t or don’t really want to do.  This makes me more reliable and probably more trustworthy in my life.  I spent 10 years helping students work on their relationships with their friends, family, and teachers.  Once you damage the trust of your friends, family and teachers it can take a long time to build it back up.  But overtime you can repair and improve your trustworthiness by being honest and doing what you say you will do.

After 10 years as a school counselor I made a career change this year and now divide my time as the attendance and truancy coordinator for the Cheney School District, supporting students and families through our community truancy board toward improving their school attendance.  The other part of my work is at Three Springs Alternative High School as a part time intervention teacher, supporting students’ social emotional learning and academic achievement.  I have supported PACE through teaching students about positive characteristics and honored students when they have demonstrated exceptional character.

When I was a school counselor, getting students to open up and trust me was essential to do my job.  I would often relate to their life experiences, let them speak freely, and never share their personal information without first getting their permission or letting them know why I needed to tell someone else what was going on.  As a teacher, I find my students are very trusting in me because I am genuine with them, validate their experiences, and accept them where they are at.  Working with families in the truancy board, I follow through on the promises I make and try to always be honest about the process and the intent of the work.  In my own family with my two children, we have a rule that I can’t get mad at my kids as long as they always tell the truth.  It’s essential that children have safe adults in their lives they can communicate with.  Healthy relationships need healthy communication which depends on our ability to be honest and trustworthy.

Cassie Castello is the Attendance & Truancy Coordinator for Cheney School District as well as the ALE Intervention Teacher at Three Springs High School.