School Counselor Questions: How do I Teach when I'm Not a Teacher?!

You may be thinking, "I have no background or experience teaching, how am I supposed to teach a lesson and manage a classroom full of 20+ kids?!" I know the feeling! I have a bachelor's in psychology and a masters in school counseling but zero experience as a classroom teacher. We're thrown to the wolves! Try these strategies to help you feel more prepared to teach class lessons.

How to Teach Classroom Lessons When You're Not a Teacher!

Use a class callback to redirect students

You've heard them before, 'class class, yes yes', 'if you can hear me clap once', etc. A class callback is a must-have tool to get a class to refocus after a breakout group, discussion, or activity.

There are two strategies for counselors to implement class callbacks:

  1. Create a custom counseling callback to use with every class. They know when they counselor comes in, this is the callback we'll use. This is the easiest for you because you only have to remember one, but it may take students time to learn it.

  2. Ask each teacher which callback they use and use the same one when you visit their class. This is way more work on your end to remember when to use which callback, but it is easier on the students (and therefore more effective!) because they are already used to doing it.

Use music and visual timers to aid transitions

Tell students how much time they will have to complete a task (ex: get into pairs and answer these questions), and use a visual timer so they can see how much time they have remaining. Music is a fun addition to your class lessons and can help serve as a timer as well. You can say, 'When the song ends, we're going to meet back on the carpet. Pairing the visual timer with music is the most effective.

Prep students with clear directions

You can have a visible outline of what to expect throughout the lesson, or you can simply be clear in your expectations. (Ex: 'After you split into groups and complete the activity, we will return to your desks to write the reflection piece.') Use a script or slide deck to help remind yourself what's next!

Observe teachers to find out which teaching style you like

Visit classrooms to see which teaching style resonates with you. You can see what you like and don't like and then apply it to your lessons as you develop your own teaching style.

Ask for help from teachers so you can best serve their class

Like I mentioned when adopting a classroom's callback, you can ask teachers anything! They know what works best for their class so don't forget to tap into this amazing resource.

Create an engaging lesson to keep kids on task and focused

An engaging and fun lesson serves as a preventative behavior management strategy. The more engaged kids are, the less likely they are to be distracted and bored, feelings which typically lead to getting off task or acting out. You get to deliver a fun lesson and manage behaviors at the same time! Win-win!

Looking for ways to make your lessons engaging? Click here to download my free cheat sheet with 15 Strategies to Engage Your Students during Class Lessons.

I hope this post left you feeling confident and prepared to teach your classroom counseling lessons (even with no teaching experience!). You've got this!

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