4 Essentials for a Successful Second Semester [Episode 109]


Here's What to Expect In This Episode:

You made it to the halfway point; it’s time to begin the second semester! You may feel excited, overwhelmed, and wondering where to start. All those feelings are normal, and I want to be here for you during this transition and give you the four essentials to finish the school year strong!
It’s easy to look ahead and get overwhelmed by how much is left to do and how much of the year is still left, but when you know where to focus, it takes away the pressure and simplifies everything. I’m here to help you do just that, but breaking down exactly what to focus on.
In today’s episode, you’ll learn the four essentials as you head into the second semester of the school year, my top strategies for staying on track both personally and professionally, how to make the most of your time as a counselor, The Clique Collaborative membership, and how to get support from your administration.

Topics Covered in This Episode:

  • Strategies for staying on track both personally and professionally
  • How to make the most of your time as a counselor
  • The Clique Collaborative membership and how it can help to create a successful second-semester
  • How to get support from your administrators

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Read the transcript for this episode:

Whether your second semester starts as soon as the calendar strikes 2024, or that changeover happens now closer to this part of the month, I want to be there for you when you’re wondering, what do I need? What are my essentials as I head into the second half of the school year?

As an encouragement, first and foremost, you are halfway to summer, you might have a long stretch till spring break, but you are working your way through. If you’re a new high school counselor, congrats, you survived your first whole semester. If you’ve been doing this for a while, you know, second semester means gearing up for some things that feel like first semester all over again, like, depending on how your school is run, possibly schedule changes and some programming efforts. And then it also brings the newness of graduation.

Of course, it’s not any less stressful. In fact, it’s probably more stressful when you add graduation to the mix. And you’re carrying some weight in that. If you’re asking me, I love the newness of a new school year. But I love the celebrations and the excitement that the end of the school year brings with the second semester. I know we’re not there yet, but we’re getting there. And it’s fun to look forward to.

Inside the Clique Collaborative membership, I have some longer teaching topics housed there that are helpful if you’re working with seniors at this time of year, like how to launch your seniors well. And remember, you can join the Clique Collab at any time now. But also you can find some shorter free podcast episodes for celebrating your students. As you get to the end of the year, right here in your podcasting app in the High School Counseling Conversation show.

Again, I know we have a long way to go. But maybe you want to dream big and start thinking about some of these things. I’ll link the episodes I think would be most helpful for you right now in the show notes. Truly, you can just click on the topic students on the podcast portion of my website, and I think if you browse there for even just a minute, you’ll find something that piques your interest for this time of year depending on what your goals are.

So what do you need to be thinking about as you head into the start of second semester, when we start the school year, I’ve done episodes before on your back to school essentials, your office prep, things you can do to find success as you’re heading into the school year. So I thought, why not do that for semester two as well.

You’ve got your feet wet, you’re more seasoned than you were just four or five months ago, you might as well be expert level status, right? Okay, if you spit out your coffee, and you said no way I get that I hear you. No matter how long you’ve been in this thing you’re still learning. There’s always more out there to understand about this crazy career as a high school counselor. So I’m going to touch on four essentials for second semester. After you listen, let me know which ones are helping you most or which ones you’re ready to dive in and give a whirl.

You got into this profession to make a difference in your students lives. But you’re spread thin by all the things that keep getting added to your to do list. I can’t create more hours in the day but I can invite you into my counselor clique where you’ll finally catch your breath. Come with me as we unpack creative ideas and effective strategies that will help you be the counselor who leaves a lifelong impact on your students. I’m Lauren Tingle, your high school counseling hype girl. Here to help you energize your school counseling program and remind you of how much you love your job.

First up for a second semester your goals are essential. New Year, New You, 2024 is a great time for a fresh start. We can take this a couple different directions. So let’s go personal goals. Do you have them? Your personal goals can be a huge stride in setting your own self care pillars for the second half of the school year. You really don’t need to get too crazy here. I think the perfect amount of personal goals are the ones that you can remember off the top of your head. You could set one in each of a few categories like physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. Whatever your top categories are for you. Pick one thing to do for each of the categories.

I don’t know how romantic this is, but my husband built me this giant board to hang on the wall in our bedroom. It was a gift. It’s part corkboard for hanging pictures together like around the edges. And that separated into five categories or sections for goal setting together. We reached a point where we were taking time to set goals together in our marriage and for our family. But we weren’t writing them down and putting them somewhere we could see them. It made me really frustrated that we would take the time to talk about and make the goals and then not have a way to kind of follow up on them. So he made this for me.

The part where we write our goals is made out of chalkboards. So we have five categories and we write one goal in each category for the year. Having it somewhere we both see every day helps us move towards the goal and stay on track for knowing whether we’ve achieved it or not. And I found more success in less goals than having more goals. For sure.

Now in terms of goals, here’s the challenge for your goals. Do you have personal goals you want to set for this year, maybe you’re not much of a reader, but you’re going to set a goal to read 12 books this year one for each month, maybe you want to truly rest so that you can do your job well. So you want to turn off your social media every Sunday, so you can go into the week refreshed, get creative. I want you to find success with your new habits and your goals for what you need right now in this season that you find yourself in.

Then let’s shift gears into professional world. Did you set goals for your school counseling department this year? And how are you doing with those? It’s time to check in with them. Do you have those posted somewhere in your office where you can see them? I hope they were simple like two to three goals that you could work on in your programming, your lessons, your overarching planning for the year. If you fallen off the wagon with these or you forgotten about them completely, it’s time to bring them back to the forefront, print them out, put them somewhere where you can see them.

Bring them up at your next department meeting so you can talk about them with your team. Heck, add them to a template for your meetings, where you check in with them every single meeting that you have with your team. If you never revisit your goals, you’re 100% going to forget about them and then you’re not going to get even close to achieving them. Achieving your goals or beating something you set out to do is not the ultimate intention. I know that, but it gives you something to shoot for. So an essential going into semester two is a refreshed look at your goals and a renewed vision for how you’re going to get there personally and professionally. What are your goals and how are you doing with them?

The Clique collaborative is a membership for high school counselors designed to equip, encourage and connect counselors to their greater community. With a professional development driven mindset, the membership hub comes loaded with 25 plus instantly accessible PD videos, completion certificates and bonus features like templates, checklists and counseling resources. But the best part isn’t the features, it’s the changes you’ll see in your confidence and your counseling program. Inside you’ll find worthwhile practical and applicable PD that propels you to action and a community full of your people where you can grow, connect and feel validated. Does this sound like the support you’ve been looking for? If so, I want to invite you to check out the Clique Collaborative at Cliquecollab.com.

Next up, don’t let your time dominate you this semester. Every semester has its busy times. I know at my former school, as soon as second semester kicked off, we were having individual meetings with every single student. Our calendar has got so full so fast. But remember, you’re in control of your calendar as long as you’re using your calendar. If you let other people dictate your calendar, or decide where you spend your time, I promise they will, you’ll feel more like a firefighter or an emergency room worker handling crisis after crisis than the proactive school counselor that you are.

So let’s get a good calendar system in place if you don’t have one already going into the second part of the year. Or let’s get back on track with using that calendar system that you set out to at the beginning of the year. I know how that can go you have the greatest intentions of making a new productivity system work for you. And then it just doesn’t happen. Episode 44 of the podcast is a great throwback episode to help remind you how to get that power back in calling the shots for your day. I want you to feel empowered to do that. So head back and listen to that one and I’ll link that for you.

Get those appointments automated on your calendar with Calendly. And use all the to do lists and checklists in your personal and professional life that you need to make it all happen. With so much going on. You’ve got to figure out the best way for you to stay organized. When you’re functioning here more soundly, you’ll conserve your energy for the actual counseling things that need your valuable headspace and you won’t be spinning your wheels on the things that don’t matter. I bet if you get a good productivity system in place, you’ll be on your way to accomplishing those goals we talked about in tip number one. So let’s go into second semester with a plan of what works best for you. I’m always a work in progress in this arena. So believe me when I say I’m cheering you on for this one and I need you to cheer me on to because I’m far from perfect when it comes to organization and productivity.

Your third essential for second semester is the Clique Collaborative. This is your opportunity for renewed mind when it comes to ideas for your program. Inside of the high school counseling membership, it’s like a choose your own adventure for what you need to energize yourself as a high school counselor. With over 25 topics to choose from you get specific PD training on the things you want to hear about plus bonus resources and a community of other high school counselors. Doors are open to the Clique Collaborative right now and I’d love for you to head over and check out how we can make a difference for you in the second half of your school year. Cliquecollab.com has all the info you need.

But I also have some special podcast episodes with current members that I’d love for you to listen to, especially if you’re already listening here and I know you’re a podcast junkie. So I’ll link those in the show notes for you. I especially want to draw your attention to last week’s episode episode 108 since it was so recent, with one of our members named Maritza. She’s an absolute Rockstar all around. So go check that out. This PD opportunity might be the answer that you’re looking for to get your professional development outside of school completed while actually doing something that pertains to high school counseling. So head over and check that out. Let me know what you think or let me know if you have any questions.

The last thing I want you to put on your radar as an essential for second semester is support from your administrators. Now sometimes this feels impossible, depending on what this relationship has looked like up until this point. I did a poll on my Instagram stories and got a range of where people fall with this. Great relationships could be better relationships and non existent relationships. You may feel like you have some ground to make up before you even get to a neutral zone if you and your administrator or administrators have different communication styles. If you’ve had a rough go around or just a non existent relationship since the school year started, a new semester is an opportunity for a fresh start, a new routine or a reestablished expectation when it comes to working with such a key player in the school, your administrator.

Even if you have a great relationship as it stands, I think right now is a natural time to check in with that bring things up that are going well. But a meeting on the calendar just to check in. Whether in that meeting, you talked about how often you expect to touch base or what students you want to help together, how you’re making progress towards graduation, what problems you both have on your to do list that your individual skills can help solve. There are so many things you could talk about in this meeting. This time together, it would be a great time to bring out your annual Administrative Conference that you put together at the start of the year and just revisit anything that you discussed at the beginning of the school year.

Between these four ideas, goals, calendars, Clique Collaborative and your administrators, I know that you now have some things in mind to set off straight into second semester with a fresh start and a compass pointing you north. Send me a DM and let me know if there is one thing that standing out to you as the one that you need to pursue as your most essential thing to find success into this new year. I’d love to hear it. I’ll be back next week bringing you a special National School Counseling Week episode because we’re getting close to celebrating that for this year. Until next time.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode of High School Counseling Conversations. All the links I talked about today can be found in the show notes and also at counselorclique.com/podcast. Be sure to hit follow wherever you listen to your podcast so that you never miss a new episode. Connect with me over on Instagram. Feel free to send me a DM @ counselorclique. That’s CLIQUE, I’ll see you next week.


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