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Friday, August 25, 2017

School Counseling Office Set Up

Last year, I worked as a part-time school counselor. When I first walked into my office, there was a huge desk right in the doorway, a computer table, a kidney table, a whiteboard on wheels, and a small filing cabinet that didn't lock in the middle of the room. As I stared at what I had in my office, overwhelmed about starting my first school counseling job less than a week after my cat died, I tried to figure out how to arrange my office so the room looked welcoming to students, staff, and parents. I also had advice from my professors at Lehigh floating around in my head. One of them told us never to position your desk so you could be blocked from an exit. I also didn't want my back to be to the door. As I was talking to a colleague, I said that I felt the desk was too big for the size of the room. Emails were coming out about teachers who had furniture available. I asked if I could have a smaller desk to replace the huge one in my office. I received a larger bookshelf and a smaller one as well as a filing cabinet that locked. I opted to place my smaller desk on the same wall as my door so I could see anyone entering my office and I couldn't get blocked from an exit/ pinned behind my desk.

Over the school year, I thought of other things I needed. I wanted a taller table that students could sit at for groups and parents and teachers could sit at for meetings too. Instead, we had the legs raised on my kidney table. I wanted the whiteboard mounted on my wall behind my kidney table to make it easier to use during groups. I asked for a bulletin board to be mounted on my wall to display student work from groups. My principal had a bulletin board mounted outside of my office (not pictured) for my wall of fame. I wish I had a picture of what everything looked like when I first walked into my office for comparison. All I have is the "after" pictures, some earlier in the year than others, which you can see below. I went with a black and white lattice theme. I'm a huge fan of white vinea and black brocade office decor. I have a two-tier white vinea letter tray for organizing papers I'm organizing and papers I need to file. I used a Scholastic Pocket Chart for all of my monthly lesson and group plans. I also bought a black storage carousel from Michaels for storing crayons, colored pencils, pencils, glue, and scissors for easy access during groups. It spins so many times I had to ask the students to stop spinning it and pay attention.

Desk with Vinea Letter Tray. 

My [smaller] desk, pocket chart, bookcase, and filing cabinet. 
Beginning: Kidney Table near Door. 
After: White Board and Kidney Table.


Beginning: White Board on Wheels.
After: Bulletin Board in place of White Board. 

After: Fountain and Plant near Bulletin Board. 
Leave a Note Office Sign.
Outside My Office. 

Miss Davies Wall of Fame for Lesson Rewards
Staff Shout Outs

Office Door

My office was an improvement, but it had a ways to go before I would have been completely happy with it. I would have liked a calm down area, maybe using a teepee and pillows. If not a teepee, I would try this.  I wanted to use a 3-tier shelf laid on it's side with a cushion and some pillows on top to make a bench. I wanted to make two milk crate seats to double as storage and seating. I already bought the fabric I need. I wanted to get some storage bins for organization as well and I wanted to make this wooden crate and use it as shelving. I had a fountain that broke (long story that involves me not moving a table when making a bulletin board). I wanted to put the fountain with a bonsai tree and and a zen garden on a shelf. I wanted that peaceful space, not just for the students, but for me too. I would have liked to put up some posters on my wall as well. I had so many ideas of what I wanted to add to my office to make it more inviting. It takes time and money to do that. It was hard trying to do things the way I wanted on a part-time budget. When I get my next school counseling job, I'll continue to add to my office decor. I look forward to seeing pictures of other counselors' offices for inspiration as everyone heads back to school.

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