School Counselor Questions: How am I Supposed to Teach Counseling Lessons when I Have a Huge Caseload?

Have you ever thought, "My caseload is too big" I don't have time to do groups, individual sessions, and class lessons!" I've had caseloads from 300-1000+ so I understand the struggle. Just because you have a large caseload doesn't mean you can't teach awesome tier 1 lessons to ALL students.

How to Teach Counseling Lessons when You Have a Huge Caseload

Before you get overwhelmed break it down into three areas; scheduling, planning, and teaching.

Scheduling

Schedule your class lessons in advance by having teachers sign-up for a time with you using a scheduling tool like Calendly or a Google Sheets sign up form. This eliminates the back and forth email yo-yo of trying to schedule 20+ lessons each month and it prevents teachers from stopping you in the hall and asking when you're coming into their class. (I would never know of the top of my head!)

Sign Up Options

There are three different ways to do teacher sign ups. I personally prefer option two, but choose the one that works best for you.

1. Teachers can sign up for their ideal time/day.

  • (Ex: first Tuesday of the month at 10 am) Then you schedule reoccurring lessons each month.

2. Teachers sign up for a year's worth of lessons at once.

  • Pro: You can schedule your year in advance.

  • Con: Teachers may get overwhelmed, and you may experience schedule changes.

Each month, teachers sign up for that month's lesson.

  • Pro: There are less schedule changes because it's only max 4 weeks out.

  • Con: It can be trickier and more time consuming on your end because you have to work around previously scheduled groups, individual sessions, etc.

calendar invite

Planning

Designing unique lessons for each class can seem overwhelming and extremely time consuming. The good news is, you don't have to! Don't reinvent the wheel. Repurpose content from group and individual sessions to use in your lessons. You can also slightly modify the same lesson to use across grade levels.

Repurposing Content Across Tiers

Reference your small group and individual counseling curriculum when you're designing your classroom counseling lessons. Is there a game you play in group that would be fun to play as a whole class? Or is there a reflection piece you used in an individual session that you can pull from? You may have to slightly modify activities, but it's better than starting from scratch!

Repurposing Content Across Grade Levels

Use the same lesson topic school-wide, but modify the lessons to be developmentally appropriate. For example, if you're teaching bullying prevention perhaps for K-1 you're focusing on kindness, 2-3 you're focusing on tattling vs. reporting, and 4-5 you're focusing on being an 'upstander' and self-advocacy. This way you're only having to create 3 different lessons instead of 6! And you can reuse some of the information across grade levels (defining bullying, etc).

Teaching

You want to make sure you actually have time in your schedule to visit all of the classrooms at least once a month. Schedule your class lessons first and then fill in your group and individual sessions. This way you ensure you are teaching ALL students.

The Benefits of Scheduling Class Lessons in Advance

As a counselor, you likely have more time for prep at the beginning of the school year. After a few weeks, the referrals will start pouring in, but take advantage of these first few weeks to schedule your class lessons. Your future self-will thank you!

I recommend scheduling class lessons first, then small groups, then individual counseling sessions, and here's why.

  • Scheduling class lessons affects the most people (15-20!)

  • Schedule small groups affects 5-8 people

  • Scheduling individual sessions affects 1 other person

It's much easier to ask one teacher if you can move their student's meeting time than to ask every teacher to reschedule their class lessons. Color code your calendar to see the different direct services you are providing at a glance!

schedule calendar

I hope these strategies make teaching class lessons to a huge caseload feel more do-able! The next step is to make sure your lessons are engaging! Click here to download my free cheat sheet with 15 Strategies to Engage Your Students during Class Lessons.

How many class lessons do you teach each month? Let me know in the comments!

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