Monday, January 20, 2014

Flying Solo at Your School? You're NOT Alone!

Recognize this lyric "1 is the loneliest number that you'll ever do" (music by Three Dog Night) and boy is it true working solo in a school!   Most but not all elementary schools have just one school counselor.  I've been very fortunate to have an intern for several years so that helps both me and my school tremendously but I have certainly worked solo before. 

Here's some ways to not feel so "alone" as a school counselor:

-Meet with other school counselors in your district monthly or even quarterly to share ideas, best practices or even to vent.  In my district, we are divided by regions and my regional counselor group meets once a month and I so LOVE that time to connect (they are an amazing group)!  

-Use social media to connect:  Lots of us elementary school counselors are on....

Facebook: Did you know that there are Facebook pages just for school counselors to connect?  Click below to join:
Elementary | Middle | High


I'm finally on Instagram:  @ajburston

Use the website tagboard to view ALL social media (FB, Twitter, Instagram) in one place.  Use the hashtags:  #schoolcounselor, #scchat or #escchat 

Yes there are 2 of us at my school but my connection to so many amazing school counselors via social media is endless and the cool part is when I've had the opportunity to meet my social media counselor friends in person, it's so awesome!  I text regularly with Blog Bestie Danielle from the School Counselor Blog and Vanessa from Savvy School Counselor (thanks ladies for being so awesome)!
See you're really not alone!

A couple more tidbits I'd like to share about working solo are:

-Take care of yourself 1st!  That pile of folders will be there tomorrow, those emails will still be in your inbox, and I guarantee that the school will most likely still be standing if you don't work 3 extra hours after school. 

-It's OK to take a mental health day.  Do I?  I sure do!  What better way to absolutely clear your head and have a little break from the hustle and bustle.  Just think, how effective are you being by being overstressed, overworked and overwhelmed?  I feel so much better and more effective after returning from a break.  If you still aren't convinced take a look a blog buddy Susan from Entirely Elementary Blog on The Wasted Day (enough said, Susan I think of this post often, thank you for sharing). 

-Speak up for yourself...being pulled in a million directions by what seems like a million people?  I repeat to myself (and others making demands) "there is ONE of me and I will do my very best to make (fill in the blank) happen but again realize there is  ONE of me".  If by chance those millions of people continue to make more demands, kindly repeat the phrase as needed not raising your voice (it works, eventually they'll get it). 

Even though you are literally alone in your school your really aren't, there are lots of us ready to connect!

Pin It


  1. I definitely don't feel alone when I get to connect with the school counseling community!

  2. I am one of the only elementary school counselors in Ho Chi Minh City, VN at the international schools. I LOVE meeting with our Middle and High School Counselors at our monthly meetings though! I have found that blogging has helped me a lot and reading other's blogs as well.

    Working at an international school in a foreign country has been a great experience for me but some of my own personal support systems from the states have been somewhat compromised. I am still trying to find ways to practice effective self-care here. ANY suggestions you have would be awesome!

  3. THANK YOU for this post! Sometimes I feel like the only alone counselor out there and those little tips are ones I try to put into place every day. Being the only counselor for 2000 students from Pre School to 12th grade (I am NOT joking here) is BUSY busy busy busy.....I look forward to following your blog and others like it, more.