Photo note: Pictured with my sister, Lyndsey, and mother, Ronni, this photo was taken on a gorgeous day last spring before Lyndsey’s wedding.
Whether you are currently participating in a school counseling internship or you’re simply thinking about being a school counselor, these tips may be of use to you. Discussed in last week’s internship class, these ideas have been derived from my practicum and internship experiences, as well as those of my classmates. While there are numerous ways to make the most out of your school counseling internship, these are just a few suggestions to get you on your way.
1) Make yourself visible. By making yourself a familiar face around school, students, teachers, and other school professionals will begin to see you as a reliable individual to work with and come to for help. This will help you establish a role in the school and begin to form valuable working relationships. There are a number of ways to increase one’s visibility, including, but not limited to:
- Greeting students as they pass outside your door
- Attending and providing input at CSE and other related meetings
- Making classroom presentations and holding groups to broaden the scope of students you are able to reach
- Attending afterschool activities such as Open House and Family Night
2) Introduce yourself to your principal. As a school counselor, forming a good working relationship with your principal is vital to establish your role in meeting the needs of the school. Even as an intern, it’s a great idea to let him or her know who you are. After all, the principal will want to know who is making a difference in his or her school!
3) If in a practicum or internship, communicate with your site supervisor. The school counseling internship is a great opportunity for learning and growth; use this time to your advantage. Tell your supervisor what you’re hoping to get out of your internship, and really listen to the feedback and ideas they have to give you. They may be able to point you in the direction of even more opportunities for learning.
4) Get involved in all that you can. This is another great way to increase visibility. The role of the modern school counselor includes collaborator, leader, advocate, data collector, and counselor. Help out with classroom presentations; conduct student groups; attend meetings. Talk with other school counselors about their professional experiences. Participating in many different experiences (while being careful to not stretch yourself too thin) will make you more versatile and help you learn even more.
While there are many ways to navigate your school counseling internship, I hope these ideas will provide the catalyst needed to start making positive changes in schools. Through collaboration, communication, and exploration, future school counselors can continue to learn and grow in their profession.