-To learn students and staff, see if you can get your hands on a copy of the school's yearbook from the previous year (I did this last year when I started working at a new school, it helped me tremendously). When I had to see a new student and I wasn't for sure who they were the yearbook gave me a little idea of what the student looked like (they do change within a year, but you get the idea).
|This year's JYJ yearbook, a great counselor resource.|
-Make yourself visible to students so that they know who you are: great common areas to see students include hallways during arrival, carpool during dismissal, and the cafeteria.
-Invest in Get Well Cards: Without a doubt a someone at school (staff, students or parents) will have an illness during the school year. Be sure to send a get well card to let them know that you're thinking about them. This also lets students, staff and parents know that you care and are thinking of them.
-Invest in Thank You cards: Without a doubt someone at school (staff, students or parents) will do something very nice for you. To show your appreciation, take the time to write them a thank you note. I actually made my own note cards. You can create your own note cards like the ones shown from Vista Print.
|Front view of personalized note cards|
|Back view of note cards|
-Mark your items: In education, we borrow and loan out all types of things. I've found that writing your name or labeling things that belong to you increases your chances of them being returned. What I've found the easiest to do is make labels using easy peel address labels (1" X 2 5/8"). I type either "JYJ Counselor" or my name on them. The labels are super easy to place on all types of items. I have a label template to share so all you have to do is type in your name, print and stick onto your items.
-Connect with other counselors: especially if you're the only counselor at your school. If you have the opportunity to meet with other counselors in your district to connect, share ideas and vent by all means do so. In my district we have PLT (Professional Learning Team) meetings once a month. Because I work in a large district our PLT's are divided into smaller regions based on where our schools are located. I LOVE my PLT group and was so happy that when I switched schools that I got to stay in the same PLT group.
-There are also other means of connecting with school counselors virtually! The ASCA SCENE is great to connect with counselors all over the country. There's a discussion forum section where you can post questions and someone will surely respond. Using social media sites such as Twitter to follow other counselors is also great. You can follow and participate in monthly #scchat tweet chats. Blogs are a another good way to connect and get ideas from other school counselors. My list of counselor blogs that I follow is on the right hand side of this blog. You can also can find a list of many other counselor blogs on the SCOPE counselor wiki.
|Connecting with Twitter counselors on at ASCA Tweetup|
-Join a professional organization: Great ones to join are ASCA (of course) and it's also great to join your state's counselor association. Attending school counselor conferences, workshops professional development is also a good way to network with other counselors and get ideas.
-Don't reinvent the wheel: There is a wealth of counselor resources available to us. You can even download the app from this year's ASCA conference to download the handouts, many of them are lessons and ways to implement programs in your school. (I still use my app!)
-Take your time to get comfy with your role: don't volunteer to head up every committee or project. Take my advice this is NOT a good choice. Yes, you certainly will head up several committees and projects just because you're the counselor, but you'll see that in some places it's the same people that head up everything or people assume because you've done so much in the past that "one more little thing" won't hurt (wrong). A great friend once told me "don't show them all the cards in your hand at once" meaning that you can showcase some of your talents during your 1st year but not ALL of your talents. Reveal your talents slowly, then you can build up & learn your counseling program.
Each and every school counselor has had a first year and you are about to embark upon a fun, exciting and sometimes frustrating experience. You are not alone in this endeavor! If you have questions, please feel free to contact me. I'd love to hear about your progress in your 1st year. Pin It