Unfortunately, as a school counselor there is a stigma that we do nothing but sit at our desks all day. This is a challenging perception to break, especially when you're trying to gain investment from the faculty, but it can be done! Below are some ideas on how to gain faculty investment.
1. Build Trust:
The faculty has to know that you are there to support them. When they come to you about a student, when they ask for help with behaviors in one of their classes, if referrals are placed for you to see students, or if they come to you to just vent, you need to be there. I don't mean act like you’re listening to them. You really need to listen to what they need, and follow through with a plan of action to help them. This is an opportunity for you to take their bid and build a foundation of trust. By helping them find solutions to their problems and actively listening to them, the more likely you are to gain investment from faculty. This takes time, that is why it is an investment, don't expect immediate results :-)
2. Make Yourself Present:
Part of our job as school counselors is being flexible and adaptable to our environment for the students, no day is the same. The same concept needs to apply to our teachers, administration, and staff. You need to make time to come out of your office mingle with the students and staff. One way you can do this is by setting aside time to go into your teachers classroom to observe the students in their natural environment, and the teaching style of the teacher. That way if that teacher ever comes to you, you are prepared for what they are like as a teacher and you have an idea of how the students interact in the class. If you are out of your office and in classrooms, asking teachers if they need anything, etc. They are more likely to see your presence as an asset.
3. Be Proactive:
Don't wait for the crap to hit the fan before you take action. Before forming small groups, it is essential that you send a needs assessment to the teachers asking what they feel like is most needed to help their students. This gives them a voice and you get great information! If you are working closely with a student, get progress updates to see if your interventions are working for the student. If the interventions are not working, switch it up and try something different! This shows you are taking initiative and that you truly care about how the student is impacting their class.
4. Collect and Share Data:
A large portion of our job should be collecting and analyzing data, this is for a good reason! Data helps with job security and shows administration the importance of our interventions. If you want to promote change and gain faculty investment in your counseling department, you need to know where changes need to be made, then develop an action plan. This shows your administration that you looking to grow, be efficient, and intentional with your interventions.
To share your data, any intervention that you do with students whether it is individual counseling, a small group or classroom counseling lesson, shoot the teachers an email to let them know what you worked on, and the goals of their student. This keeps the lines of communication open between you and the faculty. If you are running small groups, at the end of your groups, send the staff a summary of your results in your counseling newsletter. Do something to display your data to the staff. By making your work visible and sharing your results you will have an easier time with faculty buy in. They will know you work just as hard as them, and don't just sit at your desk all day doing minimal work.