It’s about that time…
Time to start setting your alarm and remembering what day of the week it is. Time to break out the school clothes and put away the flip flops. Time to reflect on the previous school year and prepare to make this year the most successful one yet!
August is the time when we all feel full of hope and excitement as we make plans to create a safe, positive, and educational environment for our students. We feel rejuvenated from our nice, long summer break and reinvigorated as we reconnect with the co-workers we haven’t seen since May. If you walk through the campus in any district, you can see the enthusiasm and feel the anticipation. Classrooms and hallways are being decorated. Lesson plans are being made. Teams are getting back into their groove and making plans to ignite school culture.
As a school counselor, this is your time to mingle and remind your staff of the many ways you can provide support to both them and their students. Ideally, you will have time allotted during staff development to present your counseling program to the entire staff. Here are two simple but effective ways you can increase your impact as a school counselor this year:
- Try to do a quick, 5-10 minute “ice breaker/get to know you” activity each day of staff development. Here’s a great article with an “outside the box” idea for creating connections.Your goal is to create as many connections within your staff that you can. Those connections are the foundation for building a positive school culture on your campus, which starts with staff and naturally filters down to the student body. For more ideas on staff development workshops click here to see what JC Pohl has to offer.
- As a counselor you will most likely be tasked with providing staff development on some serious topics, such as, bullying, suicide, and child abuse. There are many ways to present this vital information besides just a lengthy powerpoint, which we all know from experience loses its effectiveness after the 27th slide. Try using technology that teachers use in class to amp up your presentation, such as, Quizizz or Kahoot to create a more interactive experience. Humor is also a great way to create connections. Feel free to use this Back to School Humor: Google Slideshow
- Read this blog from AMLE for tips for building positive relationships for staff or students.
- Download TEEN TRUTH’s school culture book for free at www.teentruth.net/schoolculture
- Or here is a read for staff book study: Dr. Henry Cloud’s The Power of the Other
- If you’ve met your first goal of creating connections and educating the staff on how you as their counselor can provide support you will be getting phone calls, emails, and drop- ins for guidance with various situations. The next goal should be to make yourself as easy to access as possible for your staff. You’ve shared all of these great ways you can assist, but if they can’t quickly get their question/concern addressed, that connection can be broken.
- Every campus and counselor is unique so you will need to evaluate the resources you have available as you decide how you will make yourself more accessible to your staff. I used Google Forms last year and found it to be an invaluable tool. (Bonus: I used a separate Google Form for my students as a self-referral tool) The beauty of the Google Form was that I could share the form with all staff members and they could quickly and easily complete the short referral from their computer or smart device. I was notified immediately of a teacher referral and was able to make a decision of how and when to respond.
- But wait there’s more….. Not only was it easy for the staff member to make a referral and for me to respond accordingly, but the information from the referral is automatically saved into a handy dandy Google Sheet for documentation. If you would not describe yourself as a “techy” and find that this section causes panic, never fear! I would be happy to share an example of the form I use for teacher referral and student self-referral. Staff Referral Form Student Self-Referral Form
The time for students to return to your campus is fast approaching and you will soon hit the ground running. School counselors can be valuable assets to the campus staff and students on so many levels. Go forth and make a difference!
School Counselor, TEEN TRUTH