Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Lifesaver!

As any school counselor could tell you, things are busy, busy, busy!  During internship, I had little difficulty remembering the students I saw and the cases I worked on because that was really about all I was responsible for.  Now, I wear so many different hats on any given day at school that it gets truly difficult to remember who I saw when about what.

There were two things that I quickly realized I was struggling with.  First: I had difficulty managing my cases, remembering when to see students and make follow up appointments, and keeping track of who had what going on.  Second:  I wanted to know how much time in my day was I spending in the classroom, counseling individual students or groups, working in the records room, organizing standardized testing, ect.  I know how valuable this information can be in advocating for my role, and I've been determined to keep track of things... but I just hadn't found a system that worked for me.  

So, with my desk littered with post-it notes and my many different to-do lists cluttering things up, I knew I needed a new way to hold myself accountable and keep track of the cases that I'm working on all in one place.

It turns out the answer was waiting for me in an ASCA tweet chat (don't know what that is? Check it out here!) about counselor/ principal relationships.  One counselor posted on the chat that she keeps track of what she is doing every 15 minutes and writes it down in a notebook.  I figured it was worth a try, so I drafted this sheet.  

I absolutely LOVE it!  I keep it in a notebook in the top drawer of my desk and every so often (not usually every 15 minutes because I'm not going to stop a counseling session or go back to my office if I'm in a classroom) block out what I am/was doing at that time.  The second part of my notebook is something that I am so thankful for!  I think I just made this up, but probably got the idea somewhere in the wonderful world of blogs or pinterest (obsessed).  I keep these sheets in a separate section behind the time-tracker sheets and use them to keep brief notes on the students that I see each day.  I do keep more detailed notes for most of my ongoing cases, but this allows me to quickly jot down the student's name, when I saw them, why (type of referral) and what we talked about so that I have documentation.

The notebook has never left the top drawer of my desk, but I still have this in the front in case something crazy were to happen.

This system probably won't work for everyone, but for right now it seems to be working for me!  I still have post-it notes covering my desk, but hey, I guess I just like a good sticky note every now and then :)  

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