Here's What to Expect In This Episode:
Topics Covered in This Episode:
- Letting go of the pressure to figure out how you fit into your counseling team’s puzzle
- An encouragement to attend meetings and events with other new staff members to help build relationships and feel more comfortable in your new role
- Advice to not spend a bunch of time anticipating students’ problems and mapping out how you’ll meet their needs…YET!
- What you SHOULD spend your summer doing that will set you up for a successful beginning of the year
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
Other Blog Posts You Might Like:
- Podcast: Episode 72, Don’t Make These Mistakes as a New High School Counselor (and What to Do Instead!)
- Podcast: Episode 20, Sample Interview Questions: A Mock School Counselor Interview with Rachel from Bright Futures Counseling
- Podcast: Episode 23, Work/Life Balance for High School Counselors: 3 Personal Boundaries to Set a More Intentional Work/Life Balance
- Podcast: Episode 22, A Pep Talk for New High School Counselors
- Blog: 4 Ways to Find New Inspiration in Your High School Counseling Role
- Blog: 4 Helpful Things I Wish I Knew as a First-Year High School Counselor
Read the transcript for this episode:
Hey there, you’re listening to Episode 75 of High School Counseling Conversations. Would you call yourself a newish counselor? Maybe you just got the job. Or maybe you’ve been in it for a year or two, and you’re still struggling to balance it all while establishing your program and keeping your own sanity in check along the way. I want you to get your name on the waitlist for my newest audio course. A private podcast for newish counselors to sort through the noise, minimize, overwhelm and navigate those tricky beginning years of being a high school counselor. Plan to build your confidence and competence with my new audio course. It’s easy to digest, and especially if you already love this podcast. If the practicality of something like this sounds intriguing to you, go ahead and let me know you’re interested because doors are opening next week at the lowest price it’ll ever be. Go to counselorclique.com/audio so that I can share more with you so so soon.
If you just got the job or you’re hoping to nail that down soon. Immediately, your next question that you go to in your mind is what do I do now? Especially if you’re gearing up for the summer. In this episode, I want to unpack three things and not to worry about over the summer as a new high school counselor, because worry never got us anywhere, right?
If you have a new counselor being added to your team, why don’t you reach out to them with a kind text message or encourage them with an email and send them this episode. I promise they’ll thank you and they’ll rest a little easier at night. Let’s get into it.
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 click 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 things first, don’t put the pressure on yourself to know the team inside out and to be known. Yes, we all want to be a part of something. Yes, we all want to enjoy the people who we work with. I get that that’s me too. If you’re about to step onto a team, though, you’ll have plenty of time to assume that role.
If people are in the office, when you stop by after you’ve got the job, great, introduce yourself. But let’s let go of the pressure of piecing together how you fit into the puzzle just yet. Everyone and everything is going to be laid back in the summer. They’ll be working less hours, they’ll be taking their sweet time to get things done.
Each team member has different ways of working and each school has different policies for how this happens. Sidenote, if you’re new to high school, you may not be used to having summer hours. So prepare yourself. This is very common, because there are some things that have to get done in the summer. So that’ll probably be an open dialogue as you take this job and transition into this job.
Some counselors may work from home in the summer and some may be required to be in the office. Some counselors like to completely disconnect from their role as the helper and some like to answer emails all summer because it helps them stay on top of things. Some read PD books for fun by the pool and some binge trashy TV. You can be any combination of things that you want to be and still be a really great high school counselor.
The best part is we all get to choose what refills us over the summer while still getting the summer parts of our job done and meeting our administrators expectations for communication with staff and families. Make sure you’re clear on any important dates that you need to get on the calendar like a Counselor Planning Day or the counselor return to school date because this is usually earlier than the teachers.
Don’t expect lots of team get togethers, or outings, or PD days over the summer. If they happen, great, show up to what you can. But you will have plenty of time to get to know others and to be known in the future, I promise.
Next, don’t feel like you have to know every single thing about the school. Sure you can read the handbook if you want. But chances are there aren’t any prizes for knowing it inside and out before the school year starts. You could familiarize yourself with the state graduation requirements or some of the courses at the school. But I promise you there is nothing like trial by fire in this arena.
You’re going to repeat a lot of the same tasks over and over again and scheduling and checking credits on transcripts, that it’s going to soon become second nature. If it seems confusing at first, it’s because it is. Requirements vary state by state and there are tiny nuances that make it even tricky school by school.
Like for example, Team Sports IV is just the baseball players or Chorus II Honors is actually a musical theater class that requires students to stay after school and they had to have auditioned to be in the class. These are things you don’t know until you’re deep in it and you’re asked seeing tons of questions like I told you to do in Episode 73, that I said, I wish I knew more of when I was new at this thing.
You’ll learn what technically counts as a fine art and what colleges in your state are wanting students to take that as an additional class on their transcript. It’s all a foreign language, if you’re new to high school counseling, or if you’re new to school counseling in general. You probably only got a tiny piece of this in your internship too.
Everyone is in the same boat when they start. Your teammates know this. If they’ve forgotten what it’s like to be new, I hope when they watch you acclimate to the job, they put themselves in your shoes again, and remember what it’s like to have 3642 questions every single day.
There are going to be school policies that come flying at you when you first start and parents and students who are going to try and pull one over on you just because you’re new. But I know you, you’ll stand your ground so that you don’t get walked all over because you’re just the new kid on the block.
If there are opportunities to attend things that other new teachers in your building are attending, be sure to go to those. You’ll lay the foundation in meeting some other new people in your school. I still personally remember the teachers that started at my school the same year as me. I was the only new counselor that year. But those little meetings instantly bonded me to some of the other new staff in our school building. I’ll always look back and remember who was in that little cohort with me. One of those girls actually lives in my neighborhood now.
Those opportunities can make a really big school feel a lot more approachable, that it’s a safer, smaller place to ask those questions like, where do I park? Or what’s the process for requesting a day off of school? How do I update my insurance and retirement benefits? Everyone sitting through those meetings has a lot of those same questions. Those are the little day to day things that are the things that make me the most nervous when I start somewhere new.
It’s time to level up your confidence for your upcoming high school counseling interviews and help you secure the job of your dreams. When you sign up for my free three day video challenge, you’ll get a few short videos to watch on your own time. These will come to your inbox over the course of three days to help you prepare for your next high school counseling interview. Join the hundreds of other school counselors who have gone before you and watch these same videos.
I think I legally can’t guarantee that they’ll get you the job. But they’ll sure as heck make the interviews feel more approachable. Grab my free job interview video series by going to counselorclique.com/interviews. Now back to the show.
Lastly, don’t spend your summer anticipating all of your students’ problems and mapping out detailed lesson plans to meet their needs in classrooms, small groups, and individual counseling sessions just quite yet.
You could spend your whole summer anticipating all of the needs of your students and all of the solutions you’re gonna have to their imaginary problems you created. Or you could just wait until you do a needs assessment to determine what the major gaps are in the school where you could slowly get your feet wet and see some of the trends of those problems that your students are coming to you over and over again with.
This way, you’ll know that what you’re really chasing is actually worthwhile. Sure, you can browse my TPT store and get a few essentials for your toolkit. And I definitely recommend that, don’t get me wrong, but you’re going to learn and grow as you grow into this role as a high school counselor.
Your school’s population might have a unique set of struggles that another counselors population does not. Now is not the time to panic about what your entire year will look like just yet until you get in there and see what the last few years have looked like, or what kinds of interventions have been tried in the past, and then what the administrators and the school counseling teams goals are for the upcoming year.
When you’ve got all the information in front of you, you’ll be able to make a more educated and more informed decisions overall about what tools and resources you’ll need for the upcoming year. There are so many things that you can’t control or that you won’t be able to fix or change when you get that first high school counseling job. Spend your time over the summer or after you get the job controlling the things that you can or just spend the time laying by the pool and reading your favorite book.
Establish your own healthy rhythms and routines that will carry you into the school year. Those are the things that are going to serve you for the long term as you navigate setting boundaries and managing your own healthy lifestyle as you pour out to others.
Remember, as you go into the summer as a counselor who has secured a high school counseling role, don’t feel that pressure to find your place on the team just yet. Don’t get too hung up on memorizing every facet or policy or procedure of the school. There’s just too much to uncover there and to memorize. And lastly, don’t spend your summer planning for something when you don’t even know what it’s going to look like when your year starts. Hear me say it. Enjoy your summer, relax and really rest before the school year gears up and you have new responsibilities. This doesn’t happen often and you’ll be thankful that you did.
If I could show you a screenshot of this next thing I would but since we’re podcasting here, I’ll read it to you. I wanted to read you a testimonial from a counselor who used the three day video series to nailed her interview. She said, I did your three sessions on interviewing three days prior to my interview and I got a new school counseling job much closer to my home and to my aging parents.
Thank you so much for this invaluable resource and refresher on interviewing. I’ve been in the same school counseling position for 15 years, and with life changes, I needed to change my career up. Such an efficient way to prep. You reminded me of general interviewing tips I had forgotten. This tool is helpful for any k through 12 counselor applying for a new position. Thanks so much. I’m grateful.
If you also want to check out these free videos to prep for your interviews, get them sent directly to your inbox by going to counselorclique.com/interviews. Last thing, if you listen to this week’s episode all about what not to do over the summer as a new high school counselor and got frustrated because I didn’t tell you exactly what you should be doing. You only have to wonder for one more week because next week I’m bringing you that solution. Stay tuned.
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 C L I Q U E. I’ll see you next week.
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