How Do I Start Taking Action on Classroom Lessons As a High School Counselor? [Episode 117]


Here's What to Expect In This Episode:

Have you been wanting to start classroom lessons in your high school counseling program but haven’t taken the plunge yet? You’re in the right place because I have some motivating tips for you that will help you take action on classroom lessons. Specifically, I have six steps that you can follow.

If you’re feeling like you’ll be creating more work for yourself if you start classroom lessons, hear me out. More classroom lessons can lead to more intentional small groups, individual counseling sessions, or just more direct time with students! It solves the challenge of not having enough face time with our students and extends the impact of our program all at once.

Don’t forget to submit your voice note to share something good that is happening in your career, in your school counseling program, or for your students. It can be big or small! I want to celebrate you and feature your win inside episode 121 of High School Counseling Conversations.

Topics Covered in This Episode:

  • Reflecting on why you may not be doing classroom lessons already
  • Why you should do a needs assessment first, or look at results of an existing one
  • How to decide which lessons to teach based on student need
  • Tips for being intentional with your classroom lesson planning
  • Three groups of people to win over in order to get into the classrooms
  • How a counseling intern could help you start classroom lessons
  • A reminder to collect data before, during, and after each lesson

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Read the transcript for this episode:

Lauren Tingle 0:00
You are an integral part of episode 121 that is coming up soon high school counselors. We are going to look back at the year and celebrate the good things that are happening in your career or your school counseling program or for your students.

Lauren Tingle 0:16
It can be something tiny, it can be something huge. I want to make a big deal about it and celebrate you and the wins that you’ve had this school year. Go to wins. To leave me a quick voice memo of what we can help you celebrate. Tell us your name. Give us the celebration of a lifetime and we will make it a celebration of a lifetime. When you just leave your voice memo there.

Lauren Tingle 0:41
You will be part of an upcoming episode where we will shoot off a virtual confetti cannon to celebrate you and I can’t wait for it. Remember to go to and leave your win for us to celebrate on episode 121.

Lauren Tingle 0:58
Now it’s been a while since I’ve talked about classroom lessons on the podcast. I have some past episodes linked in a Spotify playlist that you can easily get to by going to playlist. Let’s add a new episode to that playlist today by talking about classroom lessons some more. Specifically, we’re diving into how to start doing classroom lessons if you don’t already do them. Hopefully this is a practical and motivating boost to get you moving in the right direction on classroom lessons. So here we go.

Lauren Tingle 1:35
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.

Lauren Tingle 1:56
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.

Lauren Tingle 2:07
First, I’d love for you to examine a bit more deeply why you don’t do classroom lessons already. This might be the time to challenge or change your mindset around classroom lessons. Now, believe me I’m not a woowoo kind of person who’s going to spend this whole episode just trying to get you to dig into your mindset. But I do want to take some time to think about taking an inventory on your view of classroom lessons as a high school counselor.

Lauren Tingle 2:32
Have they just never been done before? Do you or do you not find value in them? Does no one else in your building seem to care about classroom lessons therefore making you care about them less than average? Does your to do list seem never ending anyway? So you can imagine adding entirely new components to your high school counseling program like classroom lessons?

Lauren Tingle 2:54
How or why will you decide to change this? Well, you’re here listening to this podcast episode. So that’s a start. I want you to recognize that yes, there are absolutely obstacles to doing classroom lessons in the high school setting. But I want you to commit to trying to overcome them. Because it’s possible you absolutely can.

Lauren Tingle 3:15
If you need some more convincing that classroom lessons are a valuable part of reaching your students or just sort of reevaluating your programs layout as a whole. I want you to think about a multi tiered system of support type model for your program.

Lauren Tingle 3:30
2023 most popular podcast episode was about MTSS. So I’ll link that episode in the show notes for you. It’s definitely worth a revisit or listen if you’re like what the heck are you talking about what is MTSS? Next up, if you’re not doing classroom lessons already, I want you to do a needs assessment or look at the results of a needs assessment you’ve done recently.

Lauren Tingle 3:52
Now I think the beginning of the year or the beginning of the semester are both great times to do a needs assessment. But also anytime you’re ready to take some action also feels like a great time to do a needs assessment. Since this episode isn’t solely focused on that also link you back to episode 83, which is all about how to use and implement your needs assessments strategically and then how to dig into that data to figure out what’s worth the most bang for your buck. I definitely don’t want you to do something that won’t move the needle for your students.

Lauren Tingle 4:23
If you’re spending a lot of energy on something new or trying to improve a piece of your program that hasn’t gotten enough attention in the past, let’s make sure it’s going to be worth your time. I am not a time waster nor would I ever endorse a time wasting strategy for you to try.

Lauren Tingle 4:38
Now we’re going to need to take some action from that needs assessment. It’s time to decide what lessons you’re going to teach based on what your students need. Are these topics just one off or are they part of a series that you’re going to do? Do you have bits and pieces that you’re going to try and pull together to make one lesson happen or do you have ideas that you’ve seen done already? Or are there activities that you’ve facilitated that you’ve deemed effective and want to formally kick off again in a classroom lesson?

Lauren Tingle 5:06
Will you just simply start with one lesson and plan them one by one? Or will you look at your whole year and plan out like month by month, so that you have the entire school year laid out already? Your planning will depend on your personality, your style, your capacity, what’s going on in your school, I’d say if you’re not doing classroom lessons already, then the more time that you can put into planning will give you less excuses and less obstacles to overcome while you’re building your confidence, then that’s the best thing that you can do.

Lauren Tingle 5:38
You are more likely to finish what you started if you have intentionally planned out what you’re going to do. Then here’s an important part. Plot the time on your calendar just to plan out your lessons. Teachers get planning time you should too. It’s okay to close your door and put together a lesson or a presentation that’s gonna benefit hundreds of students. This is worthy of your time.

Lauren Tingle 6:00
I’m linking you to a classroom lesson roadmap where you can see example lessons that you could do each month, like different topics, where you could totally scrap that and come up with something on your own. I just wanted to offer you some ideas of things that may work for you throughout the school year.

Lauren Tingle 6:16
Interested in getting classroom lessons on your docket, but really not sure where to start? I’ve curated a podcast playlist just for you jam packed with tips and strategies on all things classroom lessons. When you listen to this playlist, you’ll hear about things like maximizing your reach using classroom lessons, social emotional learning in the classroom, establishing relationships using your classroom time, and building your confidence in your classroom management. Grab the classroom lessons playlist by going to and save it to your Spotify today.

Lauren Tingle 6:54
Now it’s time to look around and figure out who’s on your team. This whole thing is more fun and more enjoyable with people who are cheering you on or taking on some of that shared labor. I’m talking about your counseling team who is going to help you, your teachers who are going to be on board or at least okay with this. And your admin who knows that this is a goal of yours that you’re trying to achieve.

Lauren Tingle 7:14
You will definitely have to win over these three groups of people in order to get into the classrooms and then to make and see some progress with your students. Once you’re in the classrooms, do a good job! I feel like this should go without saying. I know you will do this. But it stands to say it out loud to make sure it’s not overlooked, right?

Lauren Tingle 7:33
Don’t give teachers a reason to complain to you or about you to other coworkers or leadership above you. Over communicate with teachers when you’ll be there, then show up on time, teach till the time that you say you will and share anything helpful with the teacher afterwards. And by that I mean something interesting you taught that could cross integrate into their classroom, or maybe a tip that they could incorporate or reference after your lesson with what they’re doing in the classroom.

Lauren Tingle 8:01
Or maybe you give them an article or resource that they can use with their students based on something that you did with those students. After your teachers see the types of lessons that you’re doing, you could ask them for suggestions of needs that they’re seeing in their own classrooms with their own students that you could potentially meet with your skill set as a counselor.

Lauren Tingle 8:20
I know this may feel like you’re creating more work for yourself. But hear me out. More classroom lessons may lead to more intentional small groups, or individual counseling sessions or really just more direct time with students. So that common complaint from high school counselors that we don’t get enough FaceTime with students, check this box and that solves that.

Lauren Tingle 8:41
Now, you may not have the luxury at your fingertips for this one. But how about you use a counseling intern to help you if you have one, or access to one through someone else in your department. If you do have an intern I’m sure they’re itching to get direct hours with students even if classroom lessons might feel scary to them at first. If that is the case, send them to podcast episode 14 to help build their confidence with classroom lessons.

Lauren Tingle 9:05
If you’re a solo counselor, or you’re just feeling overwhelmed by the manpower that all of this might require, it’s time to tap into an intern or start figuring out how to get one. Last but not least, I want you to evaluate your hard work. This means collect data before, during and after each lesson. Don’t skip out on this part. Put it in an organized place where you can reference it. You don’t want to be pulling Kahoots data that you don’t remember your login for what questions you asked back five months ago when it’s time to pull data.

Lauren Tingle 9:35
You will always think past you for doing this. Look back after each lesson after each full day of lessons and after each month of lessons and compile your data. Then compare these month to month if you’re doing these lessons more frequently. What lesson was most effective? Keep a document to jot down some general notes what worked well and what needs to change for next time.

Lauren Tingle 9:57
If you’re only doing a certain topic once per month, it can be helpful to make changes to the lesson or prep your copies for next time right after you finish doing it the first time while it’s fresh in your brain. I hope these six steps gave you some clarity on thinking through how to get started and how to get moving with implementing classroom lessons into your high school counseling program if you don’t do them already.

Lauren Tingle 10:18
Remember, this episode is full of resources for you to tap into. From past podcast episodes, to blog posts to ideas for classroom lessons on a roadmap to mapping them out for the year. I’m here to help. Check the show notes for all of those things or go to 117 for every little thing I mentioned in here. We’ll talk again next week. I’ll see you then.

Lauren Tingle 10:43
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 Be sure to hit follow wherever you listen to your podcasts so that you never miss a new episode. Connect with me over on Instagram. Feel free to send me a DM @counselorclique. That’s C-L-I-Q-U-E. I’ll see you next week.

Connect with Lauren:

Cheers + Happy Listening!

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