Monday, February 27, 2012

Need to see the counselor?

How do you get your referrals?  I'm sure many of you have parents and many teachers who send students your way, but how do students let you know that they need counseling services?  I was lucky enough to inherit a referral system from the previous counselor at my school.  There is a purple mailbox outside my door where students can put notes in for appointments.  My previous referral form had students indicate whether their concern was a "small rock," "medium rock," or a "large rock (urgent)."  As you can imagine, I would receive 95% large rocks!  Although this is a nice visualization for students when trying to decide how urgent their problem is, I realized that this was very subjective.  Students who were having an issue with a friend would often tell me "It's an emergency!"  I found myself spending a lot of time explaining to students the difference between an emergency (something we need to solve today), and something that can wait until tomorrow. 

At my school, I am not allowed to pull students during their academic times (unless there are emergency circumstances, of course), and in each grade level, these are usually the same. Often times,  I'm stuck with one hour chunk a day to pull students from each grade level, and lunches (usually already reserved for groups).  So I find myself doing a lot of strategic planning to fit everyone in.  I have my master calendar (that I can take with me to meetings, etc.) and then I use google calendar for my more specific planning (for example, daily individual appointments, small group meetings, etc.).  Google calendar has definitely helped me plan my days.  The referral system helps me to prioritize: who do I HAVE to see today, and who can wait until tomorrow or the next day.  I finally decided that I needed more information to use during my decision making. 

My new referral form is a lot more detailed.  It has places for students to indicate what kind of problem they are having: School, home, missing someone, with a friend, with a grown up, etc.  There are also these options: something not on this list, or I'll tell you in private.  I hope that the use of this new referral system will help me be able to prioritize my counseling appointments so that I am better able to meet the immediate needs of my students.  I hope to post more about ways that I try to stay organized, and would love to hear from you!
I need to see the Counselor
Ms. Hart

I am having a problem with…

£    School                                      £ A friend
£ Home                                      £ A grown up
£ Missing someone                   £ Something not on this list

£ I will tell you in private

My Name: _______________________________________
My Teacher: ______________________________________
Today’s Date: _________________________

How do you organize your guidance & counseling schedule?

1 comment:

  1. Your form template looks good! And since it’s quite detailed, it must’ve been easier for you to connect and address the concerns of the students. Not to mention that it has an attractive design that students would surely find appealing. I’m sure they were more open to filling up those referral forms. Thanks for sharing!

    Sheryl Patterson @ Calm Counselling Publications