Finding my ‘just right’ school


Well hello there. It’s nice to see you again. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. I purposely took a couple months away because I just didn’t have the energy to write anything worth reading.

Since I know I have some regulars to my blog, I want to use this post to explain what’s been going on (and that I haven’t abandoned you, I promise). So here it is, in all it’s ugly truth…

schoolYou know when things are going well for you at your school and you’re really happy and comfortable with the work that you’re doing? Well, I had that. In fact, I was lucky enough to have that for a good three years. And then, it changed. “Under new management.” It seems like all that I was good at was ripped away from me so fast that I was sent into a whirlwind of uncertainty, discomfort, and doubt. For a year and a half, I felt like I was trapped inside a snow globe, floating around aimlessly, and just when I began to feel steady, the snow globe would be shaken up again.

After a dizzy year and a half, I made my escape. And for the first time in a looooong time, I felt good! And happy. And hopeful. I found a school that was not only filled with positive leaders, but they chose me. They wanted me a part of their team. But with little grieving time for the place I left behind, I began my new journey with a heavy heart. I cried EVERY SINGLE DAY my first week. I couldn’t even explain what was going on inside me except with tears. I cried with my principal. I cried with my assistant principal. I felt like an idiot. They were so patient and understanding (seriously, they are awesome).

As I emerged from layer after layer of sadness, I began to see the school I had entered. And unfortunately, I didn’t like what I saw. It wasn’t my school. These weren’t my kids. I knew it wasn’t a good fit for me. But I had to finish what I had started. So each day, I put on my big girl pants, and I made myself go. Behind my smile was a woman who was so ferociously wishing summer to GET HERE NOW so I could just be done. And let me tell you, that is NOT a good feeling. It takes so much energy to go to a place everyday where I feel I don’t really belong.

And so, with my heart pounding in my throat, I had the really hard, big girl conversation with my principal about my feelings. I was honest about the school not being a good fit for me. And you know what? She THANKED me. Seriously. She thanked me for being willing to reflect on what I need and for being honest with her about it. She even asked me for feedback for the next school counselor. See what I mean by awesome?

I still have a little more than a week left in my ‘not a good fit’ school, but I know I can do it. I’m already launching into finding my next ‘just right’ school, however long it may take. But I don’t want to forget the experiences, as painful as they’ve been, that I’ve had the last two years in my career. I never thought I’d work for some of the best and worst administrators already in my five short years as a school counselor. There was no graduate class that taught me how to handle this. I had to figure it out on my own, with the help of some very supportive colleagues, family, and friends.

Perhaps hearing about my experiences will help you on your journey as a school counselor. Whether you’re lucky enough to be in your perfect school already, or you’re struggling to find it, just know that it IS out there. Don’t give up. Reflect on what you want and need out of a school, and then make it so.

Personally, I had to be brutally honest with myself, which was really hard to do. It meant giving up a school that I adored because I knew I deserved to be treated with respect. And then it meant leaving a school that wasn’t a good fit, even though it had amazing leaders. Somehow, somewhere, sometime, I will find a school that is both again. My ‘just right’ school. I deserve it and so do you.

13 thoughts on “Finding my ‘just right’ school

  1. The school counselor in me thanks you for sharing, but the mommy in me thanks you for caring enough about kids to know it has to be a good fit for everyone for a difference to be made! When one door closes, another one opens. Best of luck in your search.

    • You’re absolutely right, Krista! That’s why I knew I couldn’t stay at my current school just because it’s a job. The kids deserve to have someone who truly wants to be there everyday! 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. I just left a school like you describe for a new one this school year. All of the feelings that you had describe my last school experience exactly! It was one of the most difficult and most wonderful experiences all at the same time. When I was in it, I didn’t understand that…and boy, did it take a lot for me just to get there! 😉 Now that I have found my “perfect fit” I can see the past experience as one that molded me for something greater. I want to wish you the very best of luck as you find your new home. 🙂 I am sending you the biggest hug of encouragement and hope!

  3. I can so relate to your experience….I LOVE LOVE LOVE my school, but have suffered from VERY poor management for the last 5 years. I’ve thought many times about leaving my school, and leaving education forever, but was never able to make the jump. One of my colleagues encouraged me to stay, saying the administrators come and go, but the staff stays… It was VERY hard. However, we are starting again in the fall with a new administrator, one who has glowing reports from everyone who has ever worked with him, and altho I do not know if I have the energy to try and win over ANOTHER administrator, I’m hopeful that summer will allow me to recharge my soul and my self-confidence and move forward into a school year doing a job that I desperately love and much of the time feel I am very good at. (Oh, and I’ve been doing this for 18 years – so hang in there, and best of luck finding your just right school!)

    • Wow, I hope your new administrator works out! It’s amazing how different a school can become under different management, sometimes for better, sometimes for much, much worse. Thanks for reading and commenting, Kim.

  4. I know how you feel. This time last year, I left a school district where I had been happy and content for the previous 18 years. EIGHTEEN. Well, the happiness and contentment had waned significantly in the last two or three years, and majorly so the last year. I was absolutely blessed though, to find a “just right” school near my home and I feel like I have died and gone to Counselor Heaven every day! I pray you find a place that is perfectly heavenly soon. 😇

  5. Sounds like a recurring theme for counselors. After 19 years at a great school, the last 3 years of which have been torture, I have been moved to a new school. They have “reassigned” 40% of the counseling staff with no explanation. I think the problem is that so many people in the upper ranks just do not understand or appreciate the role of a counselor. It really is too bad. I had a couple of incredible leaders along they way who were former counselors. It makes a world of difference! So, here is to new beginnings and hopes that all counselors out there in transition find a place they can call HOME!

  6. Pingback: Summer, please stay for a while | The School Counselor Kind

  7. I’m in this situation right now. I work in a district where the counselors are shared, which means that I work at two different schools. I spend 1.5 days at one school and 3.5 at the other. Well this district overturns counselors and administrators frequently. This is my first year counseling, although I did intern at the school that I’m working at now. I feel like this year is sucking all of my passion and drive out of me. One of my schools I absolutely get sick to my stomach on my way there, although I love my kids there. I just want to be somewhere where I get to do what I’m trained to do. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to stay or go, but I’m hoping it gets better.

    • That sounds tough! Doing the split job is very hard. I am currently split between two and I’m always playing catch up! It is exhausting. I hope you are valued for what you do!

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