I began to feel even more conflicted, when I had to abruptly end a small group session, individual session, or a classroom guidance lesson to take a parent phone call, to meet with a parent who stopped into school, to meet with an agency professional who popped in, or to address someone else's definition of a crisis situation. I was not meeting the needs of all students in the school, I was letting students down, and my time wasn't being used as wisely as possible. I sometimes felt that I was giving others the impression that all I did was sit around all day waiting for the next phone call, meeting, page, or issue to pop-up. I felt I was giving the impression to others that the school counselor wasn't busy, so she's available to address any situation. I was sending the incorrect message that my time, and the work I was doing with students and staff, was not valuable.
So, with a few years of experience (way back then:), I began to feel more comfortable with how to schedule many of my services, how to triage the crises, and how to manage the phone calls/pop-ins from others. After searching for a system of scheduling/time management that would work for me -- from index cards, to logs on a clipboard, to monthly calendars, to small appointment books, to computer data sheets/logs -- about 12 years ago, I came across this appointment book. I found one summer during the special Teacher's Back to School Breakfast at Staples. I've been using one ever since!
This is the At-A-Glance Academic weekly version which runs from July 25 to September 1.
The inside of the book looks like this.
In the front of the book, there is a page with small yearly calendars. In the back, there is a page of important dates /holidays for the current year and 3 future years, a page indicating U.S.A. time zones and area codes, as well as, pages to list important names, addresses, and phone numbers.
I like this book because:
- It runs from July to July
- An entire week is shown when the book is opened
- I can write in my scheduled responsibilities at the scheduled time (classroom lessons, small groups, lunch sessions, individual sessions, meetings, etc.). See example to the right.
- I can write in the unscheduled responsibilities that pop-up during the day at the time they occurred
- I can keep track of the amount of time that was devoted to each responsibility, activity, meeting, etc. by drawing a a little line or arrow (see example).
- If a scheduled responsibility was cancelled, then I keep it in the book and put a line through it
- I can go back and collect data later on
- There is enough space to write on each line
- I like that the day is divided into 15 minute increments
- The book easily fits in my school bag and is easy to carry to meetings
- Because of the size of the book, a paper sheet can easily fit between the pages without having to fold it
- Post-it Notes (which I should buy stock in) stick nicely on the pages
I wish the book:
- Came in fun colors or patterns other than black
- Had a pocket on the inside cover
Whatever the system, find one that works best for you. Your time and the services you provide are extremely valuable!!