A small confession...I had talked myself out of writing a post about National School Counselor Week this year. With the recognition of school counselors by the White House, the amazing advocacy of ASCA, and great state leadership I felt confident in our new notoriety. Yes, I too thought we were making great strides in promoting NSCW among school counselor; however, I got schooled rather quickly. Case in point...
Several weeks ago, I was in a meeting with a group of high school counselors in my district. The meeting was jammed full of reviewing new regulations, district changes in curricula, advisement procedures, parent workshop planning...well, you get it. After the meeting was over, I realized that no one had mentioned National School Counselor Week! We were so busy discussing what we were doing for everyone else that we neglected to pay attention to ourselves (unfortunately, this is typical of many high school counselors).
This past week I had the pleasure of training some high school leaders and counselors on how to set up a peer mediation program in their school. During a break, I asked one of the school counselors how their department will be celebrating National School Counseling Week. The counselor looked at me as if I had two heads and stated, "we don't celebrate that at our school."
So, from my experiences over the last couple of weeks, it is very evident we have many schools and school counselors who do not see the significance of celebrating National School Counselor Week. Although I don't have the remedy, I think empowering our colleagues to give themselves a pat on the back once a year is a great start. Although I think the we have made strides in celebrating our profession, we still have work to do!!
In this post, I want to give some suggestions on how school counselors can celebrate themselves without a lot of effort. So, here are eight small ways that school counselors can step out of their comfort zone and celebrate NSCW?
Don't Use the G Word!
As I was thinking about ways to make school counselors stand out during NSCW, I was reminded of a song called, "That's Not My Name" by the Ting Tings.
Don't call me a guidance counselor cause THAT IS NOT MY NAME.
When I hear the word "guidance", read it in an article, or see it on social media, I cringe. The fact that school counselors still use the word guidance to refer to their department makes me want to cry (okay, I am being a little dramatic at this point). So, how do we change this title that we have lived with since World War II? One way is to educate others by promoting our profession during National School Counselor Week. Anyone can provide guidance, but only we can truly impact students with our specialized skills.
Download the "I am not a Guidance Counselor" sign here.
Buy Yourself a School Counselor T-Shirt
Order and wear a t-shirt that makes a statement about who you truly are! There are so many great t-shirts that you can order from other school counselors, but ASCA has a great one eliminates the word guidance.
For Once, Put Out a Sign About Yourself
ASCA has a free downloaded sign that you can put outside your office to show why you love being a school counselor!!
Take a Counselor Buddy to Lunch
By recognizing a colleague who may not celebrate NSCW, you may start a new trend (this is what I did when I found out the school counselors at the school did not celebrate NSCW). Okay, can't go out? Order out. Can't order out? Make a simple dish like chili (great for a cold February day).
Check out NSCW 2017 Activities?
This year's theme is School Counseling: Helping Students Realize Their Potential and will be celebrated during the week of February 6-10. Not ready for this year...plan for 2018!!
Need additional ideas to think about? Check out these links!!
California School Counselors
Wisconsin School Counselors
Network with School Counselors Online
Consider reaching out to other counselors across the US and Canada and get involved in online networking.
Some great sites include:
High School Counselor Connection
High School Counselor Network
National School Counselor Week Ideas
One simple way to promote your school counseling department is to create a brochure. This is easy and very beneficial!
Check out the examples below.
Free Counseling Brochure
Although this is geared toward elementary school counselors, this template from The Helpful Counselor will assist you in creating your own counseling brochure to share with parents.
Here is an additional example of a high school brochure.
Share information with others about who you are and your value!
Here is information to share with your administrator:
School Administer Guide to Supporting School Counselors
Edutopia article written in 2013 regarding seven ways administrators can support you as a school counselor.
The Changing Role of the School Counselor
Insightful article written by Nickey Pietila on the importance of the role of the school counselor and the use of data to support that role.
Here is information for school counselors:
Why You Should Celebrate NCSW?
A reminder why counselors should celebrate NSCW by Patrick O'Connor.
Past articles from your's truly...
I Will Not Be Ignored: School Counselors Doing It For Themselves!
A Recipe for a Great National School Counselor Week!
Make NSCW15 Memorable
The Counselor Bowl 2014
Oh, I love to hear what you are doing during NSCW! Please share your ideas!! Happy NSCW!!!