Using the Summer Break to Get Stuff Done: “Teacher Tuesdays” & More

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After reading my recent posts about how I use data to improve my counseling program, you can probably tell that I don’t stop working over the summer. Even though I sleep later and enjoy more time with family and friends, I make sure to dedicate part of the summer break to working on things that will make my counseling program better AND that will save me a little work during the school year.

“Teacher Tuesdays”

My work BFF, who is the Librarian at my current school, likes to get prep work done over the summer as well, so we began something that she has dubbed “Teacher Tuesdays.” {Even though I’m not actually a teacher, I think the name is catchy, so I’m sticking with it!} We try to get together at least once a week {usually on a Tuesday} to do work at a coffee shop. Even though we’re working separately, it is extremely helpful to have someone to run my ideas past, especially somebody who understands the culture of the school, who knows the faculty and students, and who can offer the perspective of a teacher that I may be lacking.

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What Gets Done?

So, what do I work on over the summer to prepare for the next school year? Basically anything that can be done ahead of time. So much of our work as school counselors is the unexpected or the things that cannot be perfectly prearranged, so I like to have as much of the planned stuff done before the school year starts. That way, I have more time to counsel students and tackle the un-planned things during the school year. Here are some examples of my summer workload:

-Evaluating classroom lessons to decide which ones to use next year and which ones to retire

-Developing new classroom lessons to replace the ones I won’t be using again

-Creating a list of topics for my weekly blurbs in the school newsletter {click here for more info on my newsletter contributions} – if I have time, I usually compose a few of them as well

-Evaluating, adjusting, and creating curriculums for my small groups

-Developing timelines for all of my small groups

-Reading articles, books, and blogs about counseling

-Creating handouts for my parent volunteer program {see more info on that program here}

-Develop ideas for {and begin to create} bulletins boards for outside of my office

-Any tasks related to new ideas for next school year

 

Honestly, the best thing about taking care of those tasks over the summer is that I feel more prepared and less anxious/rushed throughout the school day. For example, last year I had a particularly crazy day in which I had to tend to multiple students in crisis, an unexpected visit from a parent, and a plethora of unforeseen requests from administration, which means that I ended up not having the time I thought I would have to type up my weekly newsletter article. Luckily, I realized I had completed a few newsletter pieces over the summer, so I was able to quickly e-mail one right before the deadline. Of course it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if I had missed one newsletter, but because of the work done on the front end, I didn’t have to!


Remember, it is also important to take advantage of the time for an increase in self-care practices that the summer break provides! As school counselors, a mental and emotional recharge is definitely needed during those months. How do you spend your summer? Do you work on your program? Do you take advantage of the time to rest and laugh? Both? Comment below to share your practices!


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