As a travel clinician, it is important to prepare your counseling program for the upcoming school year. If you have worked for multiple school districts in the past, you probably have developed your own curriculum, activities, and materials you need for the school year as every school operates differently. Being prepared with the curriculum will help minimize your stress when back to school rolls around, and if your district provides you with some resources, that will only help you out even more.
Set Aside Time to Brainstorm
Social media is full of content to get your ideas flowing. With the vast quantity of content on TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram, you are bound to find some ideas you love.
As a starting point, jot down some ideas of what you hope to implement in the new school year that can help frame your lessons and goals. Think about lessons you didn’t get a chance to do last year, cool school-wide activities you saw online, or things you saw other counselors do and want to try.
Use your list as a starting point to plan your lessons for the year. This brainstorming time will also give you the chance to plan some of your goals for the upcoming school year.
Establish a Calendar
One key to deciding your curriculum for the year is mapping out your lessons on a calendar. This will help you determine how much is feasible for the upcoming year. The calendar can be divided into classroom lessons and small group lessons to help you manage different activities.
One idea for large class lessons is to base your plan around the time of year. So for example, having a “meet your classroom” session in August would help students adjust to their new classroom, new teacher and counselor, as well as new classmates. Other ideas could be based around holidays like National Bullying Prevention Month in October or a theme of gratitude for Thanksgiving. This is definitely where your creativity can shine!
It’s also important to leave some room for flexibility because your new district might provide guidelines for the curriculum. You will want to leave room on the calendar to add in topics based on your student’s needs after starting the school year.
If you are starting at a new district, as most travel clinicians are each year, you can survey the teachers to see what lessons they think are needed based on their previous years of experience in the district.
Reflect on Last Year
While you wait for the new school year to kick off, this is a great time to review and reflect on your previous experiences. If you have yearly reports of your services, think through your successes and challenges. Look at student self-assessments, parent/teacher surveys, and any other assessment tools you used to decide what changes you can make for this year.
As students are preparing for the next challenge in their academic careers, you can prepare for the new challenges that are coming in your career. Think about the impact you would like to leave on the students you work with and connect with that as the root of all that you do in the upcoming year.
Design Your Space
Your environment can alter the way you, as well as your students, feel while at school. Try to pick out a few pieces of décor for your new office or classroom that reflect your personality and make you feel at home. You could also buy a cozy pillow, rug, or lamp to create an inviting space. If you’ll be using Zoom or Telehealth sessions this school year, decorate the wall behind you to create an equally cozy feel for virtual sessions.
Another great option for your space is to pull together a resource library for students. This can be physical or virtual, depending on what you prefer. Having accessible resources for your students to utilize during the school year is an awesome way to provide for the students in your district. Create online folders for resources based on your lesson plans or compile a mini library of books for your students to explore.
Work with Therapia
Hopefully, these ideas help you begin to prepare for the upcoming school year with a refreshed outlook! If you haven’t explored a career in a school environment and it sounds right to you, connect with a recruiter and learn about opportunities with Therapia.