I interviewed Stephanie Moore, my friend and fellow school counselor, about her wonderful school-wide program. Vehicle Day is a way to help students learn about a variety of careers through the vehicles that the companies use.
To learn more about Vehicle Day and to download helpful documents, check out the official page.
For more information, visit my Mix it Up at Lunch Day page.
I've received a LOT of emails about how to prepare for a school counseling interview. This process is definitely nerve-racking, especially when open positions may be few and far between. This linky party will connect you with tips to get you through that interview - hopefully with a new job!
When I interviewed, I brought sample lesson plans in a binder, organized by grade level. This showed my interviewing committee that I have experience with all grade levels and have resources at my disposal. Since you are typically on your own as a school counselor, your committee will be searching for individuals who are independent, creative, and intrinsically motivated. Show that side of yourself! However, you must also demonstrate your ability to work collaboratively. I know that sounds like conflicting advice, but school counselors wear many hats.
I also brought data (refer to my annual report). My future principal was impressed by this and frankly, I think it may be the big reason I was hired. Administrators want their employees to show their effectiveness and be thoughtful about how they spend their time. Through my annual report (I created this using my internship data), I demonstrated my scope as a school counselor. Whatever information you have about the effectiveness of your services will help you stand out from the crowd. Seriously!
1. Unique ideas that have proven to be effective, either from your internship or previous school(s).
2. Your passion for school counseling. However, you don't want to come off as a starry-eyed newbie. This is not an easy job, so your committee needs to know that you love school counseling even on the most exhausting and trying of days. You need to be ready to walk the halls with a smile on your face, even when you feel like things are falling apart. Students, staff, and parents come to school counselors for help and, unfortunately, sometimes that can leave you feeling drained. Show the interviewing committee that you know school counseling is tough, but you're prepared.
3. Your personality. Smile, be warm and inviting. As a school counselor, you are expected to be approachable, so control your nerves and try your best to relax. Also, be yourself. If you're faking it, it will show.
Every school counseling position is different and every district is different. It would help to do some research prior to your interview to get a better idea of what they are looking for. That being said, you will probably have questions about:
1. Academic support structures. For my position, I need to know about RtI, 504 Plans, IEPs, DIBELS, progress monitoring, interventions, etc. This is what comes up in meetings and as a facilitator, I need to understand my school's process. Also, these are services that my students receive, so how can I support them if I have little to no understanding of their academic environment? Parents sometimes call me for information, as well, so I have to know the protocol.
2. Handling conflict. They want to know that you can manage the stress and pressure of the job, while still maintaining positive working relationships with students, staff, and parents. What makes you great to work with?
3. Managing negative student behaviors. Have you ever worked with students with violent behaviors? Do you know how to address significant behavior concerns? Your committee is looking for someone who can jump right in and help if a child is in crisis.
4. Experience. What skills do you have? Hopefully, you know how to run individual, small group, and classroom-based counseling sessions. Talk about that. Also, did you run a particularly effective school-wide program? The school may be looking to shake things up and your experience may be the key to doing so.