Sunday, July 20, 2014
Starting your Practicum Experience: Things to keep in mind
Happy Sunday everyone!!
When I was coming up with today's post, I thought about how I felt when I started my practicum. It was a combination of nervousness and excitement! Now, I have decided to highlight a few things to keep in mind when starting your practicum experience that I found to be helpful for me!
1. Take everything in & ask questions: This is an important one! Practicum is a learning experience, so learn as much as you can! Asking questions is a part of learning, and this is a great way to learn more about the profession beyond the classroom! Observe as well as get involved as much as you can to get the most out of your practicum experience.
2. Build your resources: At the start of my practicum, I created a resource binder with divider sections (Personal/Social, Career, Academic, Professional). In this binder, I would add handouts and resources that I accumulated during my experience. Many of these resources were either given to me or some that I found to be helpful for myself.
3. Your supervisors are there to help: I cannot emphasize this enough, your counselor mentor/supervisor is there to help assist you with the learning process. Ask specific questions, and maybe even ideas and resources!
4. Go above & beyond: You can also get more out of your experience by doing a little more than the minimum. If your supervisor allows it, you can even go in an extra day and learn even more. One of the things that I love most about counseling is the variety of each day! Be careful not to stress yourself out too much, and remember to balance with everything else that you have going on Which brings me to number 5...
5. Practice Self-Care early: The self-care piece is very important, and starting early can go a long way! By learning to practice self-care, you can avoid counselor burn out by making time for yourself even with your busy schedule. Click HERE to check out my self-care blog post!
6. Stay Organized with everything: I love staying organized, and I mentioned in my previous organization post that I love to keep a binder for everything. I love binders for a number of reasons: they are fun to put together and everything stays in one place! In my binder, I had a section for note taking, my small groups, counseling logs, and materials for classroom lessons that I did. I used the ASCA Lesson Plan Template to plan for my lessons. For my small groups section, I included some printables that I created to help me keep things organized for my group:
Small Group Planning Materials
Small Group Debriefing Chart
If you are working with elementary students, it may even be helpful to print out a Confidentiality poster and keep it in your binder! You can download my confidentiality sign HERE.
7. Stay on top of your hours- and planning: Remember how many hours you need, and always know how many you have. Planning ahead is also important, and knowing how much time you have to get the hours you need. In my program, we track our hours using excel, which is extremely helpful! I plan to start using calendars this year for internship by writing school closings and important dates ahead of time. This is going to make planning ahead so much easier! It is also helpful to print off the school calendar as well!
HERE. This set only includes Monday through Friday, but I also have a Blank Calendar Printable that has a Sunday start, and a small section for notes if you need it :) They can all be hole punched and placed in your binder, if that's what you choose to use!
8. Do your best: Remember that it is OK not to have all the answers just yet. This is a learning experience, and remember to ask your supervisor questions and consult with him/her as well. Remember, practice makes perfect! The more experience that you get, the better! I am so eager for the fall semester to begin so that I can learn even more :)
Also, if you are running small groups, be sure to check out my Tips for Running Small Groups post!
I got together with a friend of mine and we had a counseling craft night, where we created stress balls with feelings faces. They are super easy to make, you can find the instructions HERE. All you need is flour, balloons, pencils, and funnels! We used sharpie markers to draw feelings faces on them! We decided to make this a regular thing! You can always get together with friends in your program and have a counseling craft get-together! In an attempt to practice self-care, we watched a movie to balance things out!
I hope you enjoyed this post!! Enjoy the rest of your summer, and good luck to all the other practicum and internship students! School counselors, do you have any advice for new counselors or those just entering the field? Feel free to comment below!
Until next time,