August 2017

President's Letter: Let's Get a Running Start

By Emily Sallee
Ahhhh…summer break. The diabolical, well-deserved-time-off, chance-to-breathe, then restart-to-the-madness. The school year is an interesting beast, particularly for us school counselors who tend to follow our students year to year until we usher them up to the next level. The other students return from summer break more or less the same, and we’re off like running with the bulls. One thing is for sure: the race doesn’t stop until your last kiddo is waving (sometimes with tears running down their face) from the bus in June. And that is a ways away from where I stand right now.
School counselors, like our mental health colleagues, preach self-care non-stop. We yell it from the rooftops! One of my favorite mantras is: “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” It just. Doesn’t. Work. So my question to you is, what have you done this summer, what are you doing now, and what do you plan to do differently this year to keep your cup full? Okay, we’re realists, not idealists…maybe the cup won’t be full-full, but let’s strive for half full. Who are those people you have reconnected with and need to continue connecting with? What are those solo activities you’ve had time for during the summer and need to continue making time for? How can you start planning now for the bull race that will start when that first student walks through the front door of your school? Because you know what? Good intentions are only that – intentions. They aren’t actions. You know what else? There’s always a crisis to deal with in counselor life. That doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared for it.
Being prepared looks like taking your good intentions and acting upon them. Calendar your year! Survey your staff with a needs assessment! Identify your school/district/community stakeholders, and gather your teams! Actually complete your Student Learning Goals/Professional Development Goals/whatever-your-district-calls-them Goals BEFORE they are due, and make them useful (and attainable)! Everything you do now to prepare yourself for this next year (1) gets you one step ahead in that bull race, and (2) adds one drop to that cup of self-care.  
One thing is for sure; the only constant is change. And the only thing we can do is to get a running start. I commend you, my school counselor colleagues, for the work you do every single day.
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” - Maya Angelou
Contact Emily Sallee, OSCA president, at