Before You Turn Out the Lights'

By: Rebekah Murphy

If you happen to be reading this post in May or June, chances are that you are on your way to wrapping up another year of doing what you love and making a difference in hundreds of students' lives.

But before you hand in your end-of-the-year checklist (is my school the only school that does that?), turn out your office lights, and check out for summer, you may want to make sure you carve out some time to do these 5 things. I promise you won't regret it!

1. Celebrate your wins

celebrating

While school days can seem long, the years seem to pass by before we know it! This fast pace can make it difficult to stop and celebrate student progress, goals that you've met, or students' lives that have been impacted by your school counseling program. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What worked well this year?

  • What am I most proud of?

  • What area of my program was the most successful?

  • Which tier was the strongest?

  • Which students' lives did I impact?

  • Which form of data collection was the most beneficial?

  • How did I advocate for my role?

  • What do I want to make sure I do again next year?

Take a minute to reflect on your wins and give yourself a hard-earned pat on the back!

2. Complete Your End of the Year Report

If you're looking for a way to showcase the yearly results of your school counseling program, you'll love this End of the Year Report. You can find it here. Simply edit the form to enter in your data for the year, print, lay it on your principal's desk (or place it in their mailbox), and rest in the fact that you have successfully communicated the necessity of your role to your administrator. Chances are, they will be so impressed with your data, they will call you into their office to communicate their appreciation.

3. Areas of growth

wondering

They say that hindsight's 20/20, right? There's never a better time to reflect on the areas you'd like to strengthen in your program than at the end of the school year. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What areas of my program could be improved?

  • What is one goal for next year?

  • What is something I learned at a professional development training that I want to implement next year?

  • Is there something that my principal would like for me to focus on next year?

4. Wish List

How many times this year did you catch yourself saying, 'Oh, I wish I had fill-in-the-blank! Or, 'If only I had a fill-in-the-blank my life would be so much easier!' Now's the time to make a list of all of those must-haves for next year. This way if you are asked what you need for next year or if you want to know what you should be looking for during back-to-school sales you'll be ready!

5. Remember Your Why

Finally, (and maybe most importantly) before you turn out the lights remember your why. The end of the school year is a fun, but busy and exhausting time of year. At worst, you're feeling burnt out and at best you're likely fighting extreme fatigue. That's why now is the perfect time to take a moment to remember your motive. Why did you become a school counselor? Write your answer on a post-it note and place it somewhere in your office or in a desk drawer. When the back-to-school feelings creep up while you're organizing your office in the fall, that post-it note may greet you at just the right time.

About the author: Rebekah Murphy has nearly a decade of experience working with students holding various titles such as third grade teacher, K-5 school counselor, and K-12 gifted and talented teacher. She enjoys developing curriculum for Bright Futures Counseling and writing in her free time.

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