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Tuesday, March 24, 2015


It's that time of year again...interviewing season! Whether you are a new graduate looking for a counseling job or a seasoned counselor looking for a change, I hope these tips will be beneficial.

I had a sweet reader ask me to do a post on this topic now that I am an interim assistant principal. Well, let me say I have so much to learn and am definitely no expert as an administrator, I am merely learning the ropes. I will say I have thankfully had a lot of successful interviews and have sat on plenty of committees hiring counselors. I am not sharing specific questions or anything like that but tips I have felt have made a huge difference for me, personally.

This may seem like a no brainer but being late to an interview gives an automatic "no bueno" signal. Anytime I have an interview, I print directions the night before, put gas in the car (well my hubby does it), and make sure I fully understand how to get there. I set my clothes out the night before like it's the first day at school so that I am as ready as can be. You never want to rush and be in an irritated mind set at your interview. You want to be on your A game!

Don't be afraid to highlight your skills! An interview is your moment to shine and to let them know how awesome you are. When I had my first interview in education for my first teaching job, I felt super uncomfortable saying anything good that I had done and I felt silly talking about my experiences because I had none other than student teaching. My mom  and mother in law told me that I need to find experiences that related to the job, it may not be the exact same thing but could show I had some related experience and it could give a glimpse into my background (ex. volunteering at a nursing home may show relationship skills and compassion or working at a summer camp teaching art classes could show you have a creative side). I always created a colorful, mini highlight sheet to quickly show a glimpse into my experience. Below is an example. Don't get my wrong, I did NOT want to brag about myself and I believe in being humble so I had to find a balance with wanting to share highlights and not coming off as a know it all rascal.

This sounds quite cheesy but is probably the most important tip of all. Sometimes we really want to be at a certain school or in a certain position that we adjust who we are and what our goals are for that position but it usually doesn't work out. There is a difference between being flexible and adjusting to your surroundings and... not giving a genuine glimpse of yourself in an interview. You have to remember not only should you be the right fit for them but they should be the right fit for you.  Be YOU, look at your goals, look at how you can grow at that campus and how you can serve your students and staff!

It is so vital to know the school before you go to the interview. I always get online and research their demographics, history, programs, and even google the school's name to see what stories and issues they may have faced. I know you're probably thinking I am such a creepster but it helps understand the environment and things that the students and staff may be facing and also what kind of person they may be needing.

If you are still reading this, you probably think I am an OCD nerd.....well I am. Before every interview (after researching the school), I create a list of questions that I may have whether it's about the students or about programs and I bring them with me. Sometimes throughout the interview, some of those questions may get answered. At the end when they ask "What questions do you have for us?" I can ask any questions I still have or I may reflect on something they answered, like, "I did have a question about what your ELL population was and what support programs you have on campus, but I think you answered that plus so much more throughout our conversation." I want administrators to know I care and have invested my time into this interview. This is also a great time to clarify expectations for the position or ask about what the campus' goals and beliefs are. I will say, from interviews I have sat in on, that only asking when they will make a decision on who gets the job does not look so well. It's a great question to ask but not alone...add a question about the school.

When you walk into an interview, you want to give your best "you." Having a positive attitude is such a great quality. In education, there will be rough days and days where you want to cry and eat half a gallon of ice cream (not that I ever do that...hehe) but I would have to say the amazing days way out number the rough days. An interview is not a place to bash your past boss or talk about how much you don't like your current job...yikes....and I have unfortunately seen that happen. Coming into an interview with a positive outlook can really set you apart. In whatever field you may be in, being able to roll with the punches with a smile on your face is always a plus.

I wish you all the best of luck with interviews and hope this is even a teensy bit helpful. Remember to be yourself and that you are interviewing them, too, to see if they are a fit for you! Take care of yourself and breathe....it will all work out how it is supposed to.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Guest Post: Liz Hemphill and First Year Wisdom

If you have been following my blog, you have probably seen Liz. I have had the pleasure of being her co-counselor and she is absolutely amazing. We kind of hit it off from Day 1 when we found out we were sisters....sorority sisters (Chi O). She has such a caring heart balanced with a hilarious sense of humor and a well respected work ethic (she was in the news world before). I am so happy to have her do a guest post! If you haven't seen her, here are some pictures of our many shenanigans.

So here she is and I am sure you will see many future guest posts from her! Thanks, again, Liz!

How cute is Liz and her hubby?

Melanie has been so kind as to share her blog and allow me, a rookie counselor, to share a little bit about my first year!  It’s been a crazy year with ups and downs.  I never realized all the time and passion it takes to be an effective counselor.   I’ve learned a lot but the biggest personal lesson I’ve learned this year is to have a work life balance (As I write this as 9pm ;). The number one thing I’ve learned in this regard is to try and save enough of myself for my friends and family.  My first couple of months in the office I gave it all… too much, and had nothing left when I got home.  Since then, with the help of some more seasoned counselors, I’ve learned that it’s okay to leave it at the office.  Recently, I had to revisit this old battle when we lost one of our most precious 7th graders to cancer.  It rocked our entire school and me.  I couldn’t sleep the night I found out.  My poor husband couldn’t even get me to carry on a conversation; I was so distracted.  How could one so young be chosen to go home?  With the help of my director of guidance, however; I saw that this is where a counselor should find herself.  Walking into school the next day I felt like there was a true need for every ounce of my training, experience and mere existence.  We set up a triage of sorts in the library for mourning students to visit.  My principals and I went into every classroom during first periods and spoke to our students about loss and grieving.  We really tried to use the experience as a learning opportunity for our students on how to handle adversity in life.  I have attached some of the art our students drew that day to better express their grief.  

At the end of the day, I was done… mentally and physically.  I went home and slept the sleep of someone who had truly carried out their task.  Our students were served and continued to be served the entire week because I had learned my lesson early, take care of yourself and you can then take care of others.  Remember, our job is so important but if we aren’t our best, then how can we expect the kids we touch to strive for their best.  Take care of yourselves counselors. –Liz

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Fashion Spotlight: Trend Boutique

Today, I am sitting down with Crissy Cates. She is the co-owner (along with her husband) of Trend Boutique which I am now a huge fan of. She is quite a fashionable mommy, wife, teacher, and now entrepreneur. I asked her a couple of questions about her and her shop....so let's get started!

1. Tell us about yourself.
I am a child of the King, wife, mother, sister, friend, and 3rd grade teacher who is blessed beyond measure. I seek to venture through life with poise, grace, and style. Like every other woman, many days I fall short! But my heart is full and my dreams are big. If I make it through a day and bless my family or others in some small way, I consider it a success!
 2. How would you describe your style?
My personal style tends to be primarily bohemian: laid back, easy, comfy, and trendy. At the moment my staples are anything with fringe, gorgeous kimonos, all things flowy, destroyed jeans, and basic tees all topped off with a long pendant stacked over a delicate gold necklace OR a statement necklace around the neck.

3. Tell us about Trend and your vision behind it?
The idea for Trend was born over a breakfast conversation at IHOP with my husband. We both have big dreams and a great desire to serve others while building a legacy for our family. We've had many discussions about turning our passions into a business. We knew my passion for fashion and Rob's tenacious spirit were a perfect combination to start our own boutique! This has been the most exciting adventure I've ever taken!

In my thirties, I have been awakened to such a new sense of confidence that I never knew before. I want to impart the ability to feel confident from the inside out to women of all ages, shapes, and sizes. No woman stands taller than when she's dressed on the outside in a way that reflects her inner beauty.

A verse that has inspired me for Trend is Proverbs 31:25, "She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future." There is such beauty, strength, and inner peace in this verse.

4. What are your 3 favorite pieces in your boutique right now?
Hardest thing EVER to pick only 3, but here it goes:

1. This Sweater Tho: This open knit, slouchy sweater is such an awesome piece that you can take from winter to summer. I have both dressed it down with sweats or tights and dressed it up with pants and jeans. (HERE)

2. Go with the Flow: This flowy, figure flattering sun dress has such a fun, on-trend, totally wearable pattern and can be worn alone at the beach or paired with a denim vest for a day out shopping. (HERE)

3. Damsel in a Duster: Because I am just LOVING dusters right now. They are such an easy statement piece and can go over anything from shorts, jeans, tights, swimsuits...you name it!(HERE)
5. What would be your fashion advice to readers?
My fashion advice is first and foremost, to be comfortable in whatever you choose to wear. Take notice on what you're wearing on the days you feel best about yourself. Don't hesitate to use Pinterest or some of your favorite fashion blogs (like this one and yourfriendontrend.com) for inspiration. Work your favorite trends into your wardrobe only in ways you feel comfortable. What works on some, doesn't work on all! I love this quote by Judy Garland. "Be a first rate version of yourself not a second rate version of someone else."

I am definitely a customer and wanted to share some of my recent purchases from Trend and my wish list for the spring!

1. Chic Chambray (click HERE to purchase)
This will be my spring staple. I paired it with some white skinny jeans and the cleopatra necklace from Trend. I can't wait to pair it with fun shorts, with a sundress, and pastel skirts. This fits so much better than other chambray shirts I have tried before. This is a softer, light material. Other ones I tried before made me feel boxy and uncomfortable. This is fitted, so I got a large and it's perfect!!! I will note I also have wide shoulders so a medium would have worked if it weren't for my shoulders.

2. Barely Bell Top (click HERE to purchase)
I love this shirt. It is so feminine and has pretty detailing to it. This would be cute with jeans, shorts, or white skinny jeans. It is perfect for warm spring and summer days. I love the cut outs on the arms. Great for a date night and it also comes in a gorgeous blue.

3. Demigoddess Denim Tunic Dress (click HERE to purchase)
This is a perfect dress if you're a Southern girl. I paired it with boots and a multi-layer turquoise necklace. I can't wait to wear this to little festivals and out shopping on spring afternoons. My favorite part is the lace detailing on the arms.

4. Cleopatra Necklace (click HERE to purchase)
All I am going to say is a statement necklace goes a long way. It adds a pop and a bit of glam to a simple outfit. I can't wait to pair this with a fitted white tee, jeans, and wedges or with a dress.

Here are a couple of items I hope to purchase soon...I hope Joey is reading this!

The Cleopatra Necklace in WHITE! Perfect for Summer. (HERE)

This Sweater Tho in white. I love how Trend paired it with these stinkin' cute shorts! (HERE)

Again, thank you to Crissy at Trend for taking the time to chat with me about her amazing store! I know I am a fan and am sure you will be too. I love the fact that she is a mom, wife, fashionista, teacher, and follower of God. It is quite motivating to see a working mom (along with her hubby) doing it all while counting her blessings.

If you would like to check out Trend, you can start shopping HERE!