Teacher Gifts

Christmas is in the air.
Bring on the cheer!

Here are some great ideas for Teacher gifts to celebrate the holiday season.

For the love of spelling

I love working with my kids and going the extra mile at home in regards to their education.  I know parents make a difference.

BUT- oh my... For the love of spelling words! Er-ir-ur!!!   Urghhhhhh!  They are seriously doing me in this weekend.

All I can say is bless it...

Good luck my little love bugs. So thankful er.ir.ur will not be devastating to their college future. So thankful for spell check!

Snow Babies


Here is a list of some of my favorite books to help children cope with divorce.  I love Barnes and Noble (my little shout out), not just because of the wonderful Starbucks smell that feels my soul the minute I walk into the door, but also because they offer educator discounts.  Check with your local store for details.

Counseling Techniques

Think back to when you entered your theories class in graduate school, all bright-eyed and ready to take on the world.  Do you remember that moment?  What about the moment when the class was coming to an end and you may have been like me, anxiously waiting to get that final paper behind you on: "What counseling theory do you most relate to?"  One thing I have learned with experience is that not one single theory defines me.  Some counselors may find that revolting.  I probably would say I most align to cognitive behavioral and solution focused therapy.  Which leads me to some great positive outcome questions that I hope you currently use in your program as a school counselor.

"If a magic wand was waved over your head and solved your problem, what would be different?"
"If you were getting along with your classmates, what would you be doing different?"
"If you woke up tomorrow and something changed for you, what would it be?"
"If you went to bed and hoped for a miracle to occur, what would that miracle be?"

Maybe you have a student with a behavioral issue.

“If you woke up tomorrow and a miracle happened, and your problems were gone, what will be different about the way you act, feel and think?” 

The next step, after defining the problem is to move toward a solution.  The miracle questions can help your student see things that maybe they did not see before.  This vision that is instilled, will help the student become their own problem solver.  Remember, with SFBT, the student is the expert on their life.

The Counseling Ambush

I am often approached by parents, teachers, or administrators to counsel students.  This should come at no surprise.  I am a school counselor.  But, what does that title entail?  I have a master’s degree in counseling and my job is clearly outlined by the American School Counseling Association.  However, sometimes the title of counselor is confused with therapist.  As school counselors, we have responsibilities of meeting, working, and counseling students.  Often I have found that if I counsel a student for whatever issue that is at bay, I am “expected” to be counseling that same student multiple months later.  Frequently, I have noticed that my job is viewed as a therapist, one that meets with a person repeatedly or ongoing.  There are times, that a student requires more than one visit and I need to visit with them consecutively.  Conversely, I do feel as though most people do not understand the job of a school counselor.  Which offers the ever-growing need to define and advocate your position.  It is so important to define what your job is up front, to the student or parent.  It is also pertinent to discuss how many sessions you expect to occur. 

I love the grounds in which solution-focused brief counseling (SFBC) has laid out for school counselors.  A significant amount of improvement for students can be obtained through the SFBC model.  After rapport has been developed, counselors can begin concentrating on the area where change is needed, believe in the model that small changes in student behavior can have a ripple effect on others, focus on the small changes and build upon those to help resolve other tribulations, and work toward affirmative goals.   

Do not allow yourself to be ambushed.  You are not a keeper of a magic wand, although I love the magic wand model by SFBC.  There are some students that need a psychologist or therapist.  There are some students with issues that are bigger than you as a school counselor.  Always, counsel and refer when needed.  Let teachers, parents, and administrators know that you will work on the situation at bay and are always willing to see them if future dilemmas arise.

Do not allow yourself to be in a predicament of, "you are the all knowing and all healing."  The counseling ambush of being locked into counseling with a student every week for the rest of their education.  Advocate that counseling occurs on an individual basis.

Defining You

Do you ever feel as though you are put in situations that are not related to your job?  I am sure we all have at some point.  Even before I became a school counselor, there were assignments or tasks given to me that were not specific to my job title.  That never meant I was not willing to offer a helping hand or do those jobs.  Sometimes we do tasks that are not specific to our titles, but we are part of a community of educators that know the importance of every job. 

The importance of getting the job done. 

The importance of the greater picture.

Currently school counselors in Texas see their jobs and roles changing.  House Bill 5 has brought about several new changes and implications that impact school counselors considerably. The Dallas Morning News stated, “When the state Legislature upended high school graduation requirements this year, guidance counselors were put on the front line of education reform with unprecedented new legal responsibilities.”  For starters, counselors must meet with every child and parent regarding their graduation program and plan, which any educated person can quickly see the hours this demands.  Now, let me state this, as a school counselor it is my job to help students and families plan for their future, so I am more than willing to take on this job.  This is part of the reason I became a school counselor.  

However, after several meetings with other colleagues in the counseling profession, the new stipulations have brought on challenges.  For starters, the time school counselors spend on other tasks is not changing.  State Legislatures and bill makers certainly did not eradicate or diminish any of our previous responsibilities.  Counselors will still be in charge of the many other tasks that already occupied their time, plus the new task of “Graduation Plans 101.”  

So, the real question we must resolve is: are the other tasks related to their job title?

I believe we must advocate for ourselves.  Nevertheless, there is also a fine line between a helping hand and requirements.  Meeting with every student and parent one-on-one was once an end of year objective and desire, but now it is a legal requirement.  I think school counselors must advocate by defining who they are and what their job is, as defined by the ASCA National Model. With every new task, administrative support is key to any successful program.  So, I challenge school counselors to take a step back and see what tasks they currently employ that are not outlined by the ASCA National Model.  If they are not outlined, are these tasks necessities to helping student growth though?  Would it hinder your students if a certain task was diminished?  Always look at the bigger picture.  Remember why you became a school counselor.  

I believe Texas School Counselors will rise to the challenge of their new responsibilities and the way they view their position.

Baby it's cold outside...

Winter has blown in; it is FrEeZingggg outside.  We are suppose to have football tonight and the town's temperature where we are playing, currently has a windchill of 1!  Buuurrrrr.

I have been playing Christmas music nonstop at my house and office.  I have not forgotten Thanksgiving though.  Thanksgiving is actually one of my favorite family get togethers.  I have the best childhood memories of Thanksgiving time with my grandparents.  My grandad, whom we called Poppie, would sneak He and I a roll and butter it up for a taste test.

I am currently trying to decide what type of fun guidance lessons I can use in December to help celebrate the Joy and Love of Christmas.  I am researching ideas on Christmas and Holidays around the world.  I am hoping to do a diversity lesson with traditions incorporated into the topic.  I am envisioning the hallways decorated with traditions around the world.

It is such a wonderful time of the year.

Personalized Senior Newsletter

I have decided to send home a personalized Senior Newsletter for every Senior student at the end of the Fall Semester.  
My hope is for senior parents to know where their child is in the college planning process, what needs to be completed, and lend a helping motivational speech to their child to help get the college planning process done.

My Newsletter outline contains:


FASFA Form Returned: Yes/No

Your Senior has applied to the following colleges/universities:

Local Scholarships will be available in the Spring.  These will be handed out in a packet.

To Do:
Register for the ACT or SAT test
Housing Application
College/University Scholarship Application complete