I have very recently began a new position as a guidance counsellor in three schools, all of which have never had a guidance counsellor before. Although all schools are extremely grateful to have me, there are still some challenges surrounding the creation of a brand new position. Where are they going to locate me, will there be a private space, private phone line, filing cabinet to store confidential files, a space that is suitable for counselling? How will staff, parents and students react to this new role? Some of this is out of my control and I must live with that. However, there is still a lot I can do to make this an easier transition for everyone.
At this point in the game I am simply trying to allow students and staff to see me in the school. I am walking around before school, talking to students, going into the staff room to meet teachers. Overall, I want them to know that I am here. Now is not the time to come into their classrooms and start pulling out students. They have only been back to class for two days and I am unfamiliar to everyone. I feel that staff must first get to know me and what it is I do, before they will be willing to send their students to see me. I think that is reasonable. I feel it will be a while before they are comfortable enough to send students my way, and that is OK.
In the meantime I am creating lessons for my introduction into the classrooms and preparing a communication plan for the staff and parents. This plan will include who I am, what my responsibilities are and what I feel I can assist with. I will be creating a new referral form specific to each of my schools, and preparing my ‘grab bag’ of goodies that help me engage students. This being a completely new position means that I am entering my schools with only my personal resources and must purchase and find resources on my own. Again, that is ok because the schools have a great supply of resources that I can use.
So, I am creating my own personalized spaces that fits the location and situation that I am in. I am creating new resources and materials that work well within the school setting. I am making myself seen in the school so that parents, students and staff at least recognize my face and I am preparing all the files I need so that when they are ready to have me, I will be ready with them.
I think this is the best way to go about this situation, but perhaps others have been in the same situation and they could provide me with some more ‘guidance’?
Any advice would be great!
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA