Friday, July 12, 2013

Setting Up My Office

Since accepting my position, the staff at my school have been so supportive. I was worried about being a newbie, but they embraced it. Not only is the staff super excited for some ideas I've put on the table, but they are also 100% okay that I don't know everything! In fact, they are sending me to a couple of trainings in August. I am extremely grateful for the people I work with.

One of the first things I've been trying to accomplish before school starts is setting up my office. This was difficult at first because the current school counselor (who is retiring), wasn't exactly in a hurry to leave. Here's how he left it:

It's a pretty small space, so I couldn't believe all the stuff that was in it!

I had been thinking a lot about the colors I wanted in my office, and how I wanted it to feel. I'm an earth tone girl myself, and like when places feel like home (think coffee shop). So while at Target one day, my best friend and I picked out this lampshade that I decided would be the base for how to decorate my office.

A few days later, one of the secretaries contacted me and asked if I would be interested in surprising the counseling secretary in painting her office. I said yes, and we took an entire day to paint. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of her office, but while we were painting hers we decided to paint mine too! The secretary I was painting with happened to have some left over brown paint from her daughters room, and was kind enough to let me use it.

Since then, I've bought quite a few things for my office (and may have spent way more money than I wanted too...oops). For instance, these chairs:

I also took a trip to Ikea with my best friend and purchased a rug, a lamp, pillows, and shelves. I still have a lot of work to do but here is how my office currently looks:

I tried to open the room up a lot more, and wanted it to feel more like home. The way the office was set before was functional, but I felt as if it wasn't a place a student would feel comfortable. The desk is no longer a barricade between me and the student,  and the comfy chairs provide more of a relaxed feeling. 

Right now I'm working on getting some good resources pertaining to high school counseling to put on those shelves. Next thing to tackle: the mountains of papers the retiring counselor left behind. Phew!

Also, I wanted to mention something about my principal. In graduate school, you hear over and over again how important a school counselor's relationship with the principal is. In interviews, it's easy to tell which principals value their counselor and which ones don't. I cannot express how fortunate I am in working with a principal who not only values me, but also shares a lot of the same views as me and is truly doing everything he can to make my experience a good one. For instance, the past counselor was responsible for MAP testing (which takes up a HUGE chunk of time). My principal told me that he is working to delegate the MAP testing so that I can be out about more. "I want you out there in the hallways and classrooms as much as possible,". 

Can I just say how excited I am about all of this!

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