What are some basics that could be helpful to you as a new school counsellor?
- Write an introduction letter to parents letting them know who you are and what you do and post it on the school counselling and school website. (If by chance your school does not have a website design a letter introducing yourself and put it in the school newsletter ( put it in the newsletter anyway.) If you wish to do a digital introduction or video introduction you can do that too.
- Send this out to students on the school instagram, twitter or other account.
- Introduce yourself to as many teachers as you possibly can. In a large school, this will take time. Virtually you can introduce yourself and let teachers know what services you can provide.
- Plan to meet with your administration team at THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR and least once a month. You can do this virtually through google meet or zoom, but put it in your calendar. Celebrate what you do and how you are doing. Discuss what the expectations are of a Comprehensive School Counselling Plan and how you can work together to accomplish this.
- Implement a joint admin. counseling blog post at least four times throughout the school year. Counsellors and admin should be joint leaders in any school.
- Show initiative. Everyone in a school will benefit. If you have some great ideas, don’t be afraid to share or try out your ideas.
- Discuss limits of confidentiality with every student. You might want to put a poster of the limits on your office wall or in your intro to students.
- Visually make your office a space students want to be in as best as possible during this time. Make your space at home a comfortable place to connect with students.
- Develop a monthly calendar of things to do and check off when you complete them.
- Have a plan when meeting new students. Virtually you will need to connect with their homeroom teacher and then have them connect with you by email. When phoning student find ways to connect that hide your cell number.
- It might be helpful to keep a notebook of all the things you need to know especially if you are in a new school or counselling a new age group.
- You will want to find a simple and easy way to curate information. I use livebinders wakelet and pinterest. They can be extremely helpful tools for new counsellors as well as those that have been around for awhile.
- You need to be a positive PR person for the school counseling program , so find many ways to connect with students. Brainstorm with your colleagues ways to make connections with students so that they know who you are and what you do.
- Connect with parents. Let them know through parent council or other means what you do.
- Ask for help. You are not expected to know everything. Utilize the professionals inside and outside of your building for support. If you are an Alberta School Counsellor . Join your specialist council. Join your specialist council in your area wherever you are in the world. ASCA has many supports whether you are American or not, I would recommend joining the American School Counsellor Association.
- Learn as you go about the many community resources that are available and put them in a binder or livebinder.
- Don’t be afraid to share your innovative or creative ideas with your counselling team ( if you have one). They and you will benefit!
- BALANCE we all benefit from taking care of ourselves. Don’t burn yourself out in the first year. Practice self-care.
- You have a big learning curve. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF.
Check out this amazing well organized livebinder by one of my past colleagues.
You can also check out some of my past resources here.
For all of you who are new to school counselling have a wonderful experience and know that what you do absolutely matters.
Welcome to one of the best professions in the world,