A school counselor's relationships with the teachers in their building is so important for student success. These ideas from Chelsey, Rebecca, Brandy, and Laura will definitely help you build strong relationships with teachers this year.
Connecting with Teachers
Connecting with teachers is so important, but with all of the other responsibilities we have, it can quickly go by the wayside. One of the biggest ways that I have built relationships with the teachers at my school is simply to be around them. It can be easy to stay secluded in my office all day, but I try to make my presence known. Some easy ways I do this are:
- taking a quick lap through the halls at the beginning and end of the day,
- eating lunch in the teacher’s lounge, and stopping in their rooms to say “Hi!”
- participating in any “extra” staff activities that happen — a Christmas gift exchange or a potluck dinner.
The more I am around the teachers and the more I talk to them, the more they get to know me and trust me. This trust then allows us to work well together to benefit our students and our school as a whole.
Be Inclusive & Purposeful
Hang out with them! I’ve always loved building personal relationships with my teachers.
I have coordinated ultimate frisbee games, walks around the track after school, book clubs, get togethers after work, etc.
I send around a social sign up at the beginning of the year because I never want to have an “in” group and and “out” group. Anyone who signs up gets all the emails about what we’re doing for fun.
I also try to eat lunch where the teachers eat and trade around when I eat so that I spend time with all staff. We’re humans and in most workplaces, people spend time together. At schools, we have to be more intentional about making connections because so much of our workday is spent in direct service to students or in meetings with very full agendas.
Connecting with teachers is critical in keeping a positive staff morale and getting buy-in for your counseling program.
In addition to a coffee and cocoa bar around the holidays and testing season, I like to leave random notes and treats in their mailboxes.
Once a year, I send around a shout-out folder which always brings out all the feels of the school.
I absolutely love to decorate the lounge with motivational quotes, jokes, and self-care challenges, I want teachers to get a smile every time they walk into the lounge.
Finally, during professional development and faculty meetings, I will bring out games that only teachers would understand. Any little thing I can do to make a teacher’s life just a little bit better, is time well spent. I am so thankful for their service to our students.
My connections with teachers have always had a direct and dramatic impact on the students and families that I work with. Having them on board is the different between a successful and failed intervention.
I dedicate lots of purposeful time to being a support to teachers and someone they can count on to keep their promises.
One of my tried and true strategies is Morning Rounds. Just like doctors in a hospital, I pick a grade level or a classroom each morning and drop in. I check on specific students, strategies they are using, and general whole-class issues that might be popping up. I am careful not to walk away with a mile-long to do list. I will give some suggestions or drop a resource in their mailbox that day.
For 8 more suggestions on building relationships with teachers, head over to my blog.
Need more? Check out Rebecca's suggestions for How to Handle Uncomfortable Conversations with Parents and Teachers.