1. Focus your class lessons on what the teachers are saying they need.
Not only will they be way more likely to enforce it, but then they also begin to see you as someone that helps them. And honestly, that’s the first way to get “in”.
2. Find someone on each grade level team that is influential.
Befriend them/focus your energies (you have little time at each school!) on them. I know that sounds a little bit like game playing or being political, but sometimes the way that teachers start to understand and value the school counselor is basically through word of mouth. When one teacher sees how you can help them and your students, they sing your praises and others start to understand.
3. Give Them Things They Didn’t Know They Needed
Do your teachers do morning meetings or community gatherings or anything like that? This year, I helped to gain some buy in from of my teachers by giving them resources they could use during them. (ex. A couple teachers were lecturing their students a lot on using their time wisely, so I gave her some task cards she could use on that topic during morning meeting).
4. Consider a “Counseling Office Open House”.
You bake some sweets and then invite teachers to an “office open house” where they grab a treat (and maybe a stress ball or fidget) and you just casually chat with them. I’ve found that, especially if our offices aren’t in a main area, sometimes they never even come to our offices! But if they can get comfortable stopping by your office, then they’ll be more likely to come see you and consult with you.
5. Listen. Really listen to them.
Your teachers are probably coming to you stressed and not necessarily at their best. Find out what they’re having anxiety over. Figure out what they need and what they think their student needs. If a teacher is upset when you come in to do a lesson, it’s probably not about you. It’s probably about their concern that they’ll fall behind on their scope and sequence because of your lesson. Use some of your basic counseling skills (Reflect, reflect, reflect!) to help teachers know that you get it.
6. Do an end-of-the-year needs assessment/program evaluation.
Learn from the teachers what you did this year that they want more or less of and what they view as the strengths and weaknesses of the counseling program. This will get you information to help figure out some things to focus on for next year.
What else have you found successful? How else can we gain faculty investment in our work?
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