This semester planning guide was created with the modern realities of school counseling in mind.
Tune in as we get REAL about working in schools, serving students, and advocating for our roles. You've never heard school counseling like this.
We LOVE helping school counselors! From interviewing to learning about all the the
things they don't teach in grad school like 504, MTSS, and behavior intervention, we will help you become the most empowered & educated counselor-expert you can be!
In a recent colleague interview, we spoke with Coreena G., a school counselor from the midwest United States. Coreena spent 5 years as a classroom teacher before becoming a behavior interventionist, then moving into the role of school counselor. Her experience as a teacher and working 1-on-1 with challenging students has guided her entire perspective on school counseling work.
Creating and maintaining a great school climate and culture through building relationships with both your students AND your staff!
After all her years of behavior intervention, her number one tip for managing tough behaviors is to take the time at the beginning of the year to form relationships and build rapport with your students.
“Building relationships. That’s it. It’s not a magic trick. It’s creating relationships with your students and building that rapport. It’s taking the time at the beginning of the year to do that. I think sometimes we feel that pressure to rush right in….. But if you don’t take the time to build the relationship with the kids, then they won’t have the buy in to what you’re selling.”
Often school counselors feel pressured to jump into their school year (especially when starting at a new location) and get right into groups, individual sessions, counseling lessons, etc. However, taking the time to get to know the school, the teachers, the staff, and the students will be the most important thing you can do.
Students who don’t know you, won’t trust that you are there to help them. Coreena works in a high-poverty school with students who are fighting against multiple barriers to reach their best potentials. Breaking these cycles of poverty and trauma is difficult and requires certain approaches.
Often, school counselors feel discouraged and alone trying to tackle these issues:
“There is only one of me. How can I bring in more people to build positive relationships?”
One of the best tools to utilize…
Taking care of and supporting the staff within a school is a huge asset to any counseling program and benefits your students in more ways than you know.
When teachers are taken care of, they are better able to care for the students they serve every day.
“When you work at a school with lots of students from lower socio-economic statuses, they carry in heavy things. I’m trained to deal with those things, but my staff isn’t necessarily trained to go through those things, and they have to go through it too, with me.”
Coreena makes sure she takes time to speak with teachers, make sure they are okay, and to give them a place to talk.
She also works with her administration to bring in treats for the staff. This past year for teacher appreciation they brought in a masseuse and coffee trucks. The plan is to implement more fun, self-care events throughout the upcoming school year to lighten the mood and give the staff an outlet.
Coreena spends a lot of time with teachers in her school, mostly collaborating regarding student concerns at home or in the classroom. However, Coreena is not just interested in the problems.
“I want to hear the good things. I actively seek out the good information… I want to know what is working.”
School counselors are often tasked to be the problem solvers when it comes to students. Having a positive mindset when approaching those relationships and keeping that mindset in the forefront of our minds is a good first step.
When speaking with the teachers, Coreena often asks, “What would they be without this barrier? Let’s look at the solution before we look at the problem and decide how to tackle it.”
Collaborating in a positive manner with teachers and building rapport with the entire school is vital to the success of a school counseling program. At School for School Counselors, we are invested in professionals who are passionate about their job, just like Coreena. To hear more about Coreena’s school counseling journey and other tips, hang out with us in our Facebook group, School for School Counselors!