The Way I WorkJeff Ream - The Counseling Geek & School Counselor at North Tahoe High School
Welcome to a new feature on TCG
I want to introduce you to a new recurring feature I plan on bringing to the blog. I am calling it “The Way I Work” and I plan to interview school counselors around the country and feature one every month or so. The focus of the interview is all about how they work, what gets them through their day and actually taking a look at their offices. I thought it would be only appropriate to model it myself – so for this post I will be highlighting how I work and showing you my office. If you are interested in being a part of this series or have a unique/fun/creative office or working style – I especially am interested in hearing and seeing it! Please check out the info at the bottom of this post to learn more about being featured. Hope you enjoy.
Welcome to my office
You may read the blog when new posts come up – but you may not know much about me. I work full time as the (currently) only school counselor in Tahoe City, CA at North Tahoe High School. I say currently because we just posted openings for 3 school counselors in our district (YAYY!) and one to work with me at my site so I will get some help next year! Very exciting. I have been at my school for 5 years and really enjoy working with our population of students and my colleagues.
Locale: Tahoe City, CA
How would you describe your office?: Organized chaos (it isn’t always this clean). I hate a messy desk but it is sometimes the nature of the beast. I go through a purge and clean session about once a month. I go through every pile that eventually makes it onto my desk and either file or trash it. It is the only way I can stay sane.
What is one must have tool in your office you could not live without? I would likely have to say my dual monitors (if I had the basics like a computer and phone, etc). I use these so much and when I have to travel and work on the screen of my laptop – it really slows me down. Being able to have a copy of a transcript on one page and a course request in Aeries up on the other is priceless.
This is a tech-centric blog, what are the top 5 apps or digital tools you use on a regular basis (on a laptop or mobile device): Well I am a PC/Android guy so I run Windows. I think the main thing I couldn’t live without is (1) Google Chrome. I use the web for a lot of different things like email, Google Drive, ScheduleOnce, etc. and I have dabbled in different browsers to suit my needs and find myself tied to the features that come with working in a Google Apps for Education district.
(2) Microsoft Excel (and Google Sheets) are something that are a necessity for me. Crunching data, planning lessons, tracking test registrations, etc all require me to use Excel and Sheets pretty much every day.
(3) Pandora (and Spotify/Google Music at times) is usually playing softly in the background. I love music and it helps me focus – so having it playing in my office is a regular occurrence. A regular student and I even bump the tunes every friday afternoon for his weekly meeting with me. Current favorite listens are Ambient Music for Reading (Google Play Music) and Mimi Page Radio (Pandora). Usually have some sort of ambient, classical, jazz or IDM playing.
(4) Aeries is our SIS so I cannot really go for an hour at work without needing to hp into Aeries and look something up or change something. Not my favorite, but gets the job done. Nothing flashy here.
(5) Google Calendar for Android – I am very tied to my calendar. It runs my day. Thanks to training students and parents that I run my office by appointment (except for emergencies) – it really helps me stay on task and organized. I know my meetings for the day and can ensure I am prepared for them before leaving the day prior. It also helps me be more proactive than reactive. I use Google Calendar on Chrome, but wanted to shout out the app on Android because more times than not – I have to look up my next appointment as I am out and about.
Describe your workspace: Well apart from the photos above – I work in a pretty sweet office. Our school is new in the last 15 years and the offices are pretty cush. My desk is a U-shaped desk with lots of open space. Outside my office window is the bus loop and then open forest. My perfect office would be a little bigger to allow a couch, a separate table to not cut myself off so much from students or families and have a computer station to use with students or families. But all in all – I have nothing to complain about.
Do you do anything “old school”?: I actually really do like keeping paper copies of important documents. Things that may come up later, copies of transcripts, forms that could need to be accessed later that could land me in hot water – I keep in my own secured files. Other than that – I try to be as paperless as possible.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?: It is hard to recall the exact wordage, but I think it went something like “keep the main thing the main thing and never be afraid to try and fail”.
Is there anything else we didn’t cover that you think readers would love to know about you? I didn’t start my post-secondary process even remotely interested in school counseling. I started college at Cal Poly SLO as an aerospace engineering student. Maybe that is where my interest in technology comes from and perhaps why I sometimes feel an odd duck in the world of school counseling. I am a pretty logical/linear thinker and really love my processes and policies to maintain order in the midst of chaos.
My name is Jeff Ream and this is The Way I Work.
Interested in being featured?
Please complete the contact form below and I will reach out to you via email if I can feature you. All interviews can be done via email.