One thing that I enjoyed about working in a school was that the year and the job had a definite beginning and end. There was always the excited anticipation at the beginning of the year and of course a different kind of excitement as the year came to a close and students moved on to the next grade or the next phase of their life.
Prior to working at a school, I worked in various agencies involved in mental health and like most jobs, there were certainly seasons, but there was no clear beginning or end except in client relationships. The year stretched ahead with no particular end in sight and then blended rather seamlessly into the next. Having a clear beginning and end, definitely has advantages over this usual way of doing things.
I think there is a great advantage in having a start date to prepare and set an intention for. And when you have a clear finish, it is also useful to take some time to assess and prepare for the next school year. An additional advantage is that you can create a plan for the entire year that focuses on topics relevant for each month. When you don’t have a clear outline for the whole year, it’s easy to fizzle out at the end, both in terms of energy and subjects that you’d like to cover. I always liked to begin the school year with introducing the role of the counselor and lessons on making friends. Finishing the year was a great time to reflect on goals set and accomplished as well as preparing for the standardized test that measured achievement for the year.
Eventually, I put that all together in The Elementary School Counselor’s Book of Lesson Plans. Here’s what it covers: