I don't know how many of you follow my twitter profile...but this week has been quite discouraging and difficult. Mark that. This month has been difficult. I think it has finally caught up with me, where I am finding myself having to push my positivity and to be intentional with my thoughts. Maybe it's because it's the end of the school year. Maybe it's because we have 192 contact days.. and two weeks to go. Maybe it's because it is the end of my first year. Maybe it's because the sun is shining and the mountains are calling my name.
Whatever the reason, I cried today in my office because I am letting it get to me.... I will get back to this in a second.
Something that I did at the beginning of the year was create a Needs Assessment to test the climate of my school. This gave me a great picture of what teachers saw as the counseling role and what they felt was missing. I got a lot of comments back that were extremely helpful and directed my purpose this year.
I decided to create another one to grasp the whole picture of where I came from and where I am now. Instead of doing paper surveys, as I did the first time around, I created one online. Although I have heard great things about Survey Monkey, I decided to use a site called:
The major difference I found was that this site remains FREE even when using more than ten questions or wanting to add extra doodads. Survey Monkey attempts to get your buy-in on "upgrading". Oh, the upgrade! Needless to say, I have more than ten questions.
In addition, like Survey Monkey, Kwik Survey will generate a report for you so that you can see your scores on a holistic level instead of individually.
I compiled questions from various needs assessments that I found through ASCA Scene (have you been here yet? It is awesome!) and came up with these (feel free to use them as you would like!) Most questions, unless indicated, are on a scale of Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree.
School Counseling Program Review
Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions in this survey. Your honest response to all questions will assist in the review of the School Counseling Program. All responses will be kept confidential and will be used to improve how the School Counseling Program helps our students, parents, teachers, and administrators.
What is your job position?
(Elementary, Middle, Admin, Staff)
How much contact have you had with the School Counselor this year?
(Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Very Little)
I have a clear understanding of the School Counselor's role in the school.
The School Counselor works cooperatively with administrators, teachers, and other staff.
Teachers, parents, and community are informed about the School Counseling Program.
The School Counselor helps students to develop socially and emotionally.
The School Counseling program helps to enhance the academic achievement of all students.
I believe students feel comfortable meeting with the School Counselor.
The School Counselor provides important services to the students of our school.
The School Counselor has worked with teachers to provide classroom guidance.
I feel comfortable collaborating with the School Counselor to help students.
Please list the strengths that currently exist within the School Counseling Program.
Please list the weaknesses that currently exist within the School Counseling
Program. What would you change?
Needs Assessments are a great way of getting an instant grasp to what you should be working on, or even things you have been working on too much. I highly encourage you to take the time to do this.. either now or at the beginning of the school year.
BUT, here is the deal. I left my survey so that teachers could fill them out anonymously. I literally have no idea whose is whose. Doing this allows teachers to feel comfortable to be completely open and honest. Unfortunately, I received a survey in which the comments crushed me. I don't know why I let it get to me.. but the comments and results of this survey stirred up a sadness in me.... AND riled up my perfectionism.
The ironic thing is that I love constructive feedback. But, this felt personal. It felt like a vendetta. And I felt like I had failed. Either a student in that teacher's class. Or the teacher themselves.
So, like I always do; I prayed about it. And then I contemplated it. And then I talked to some trusted companions. And it comes down to this (and I hope that this can be as encouraging to you, as it has been to me)
First- This is my calling. I absolutely positively LOVE being a School Counselor. My first year has been a SUCCESS. There have been so many opened doors this year and awesome opportunities. I cannot allow one moment, one person, one unsuccessful case char and blur the entire year. I am here for a reason.
Two- Who am I to think that I can save the world and everyone in it? What an EGO I have! Don't feel badly for me when I say this. It is the truth. I can only do so much. And I am going to do it with the best of what I got. And guess what? That counts for EVERYTHING!
Three- I will take the criticism and move on with it in a positive direction and that is all that I can do. Often, it isn't the junk that gets in our way... it is what we do with it.
As school counselors, we have to have a tender, but thick skin. And sometimes it is a tough balance but I am finally growing into mine.
BRING IT YEAR TWO!