Thursday, October 23, 2014

School Counselors - What Do They Do?

We all need advocates. We all need someone to cheer for us and push us to the finish line. No matter what the need might be, school counselors provide students all the resources to become successful academically, personally and socially. The demands students face in schools nowadays are constantly increasing and in addition to that, many students lack positive role mentors. The school counselor’s primary obligation is to the student and to assure the safety of the student. They create the best learning environment possible for the student and mediate between students, the school and parents. It is a career that requires a wide range of qualities that go beyond scheduling and credits tracking to assure students are able to graduate and grow as individuals. The following description helps to get a better picture of this profession.

1) Professional Skills
In order to be effective, school counselors must demonstrate various professional competencies.
  •  Counselors must be able to provide counseling through prevention and intervention.
  • School counselors must be able to collaborate and network with other professionals. This might mean to make outside referrals or simply to discuss student progress or seek information from other expertise professionals.
  • Counselors also need to know how to analyze and interpret data to improve the student’s academic success.
  • School counselors need to understand the ASCA ethical and legal standards in order to make difficult decisions concerning the students present and future.

 2) Personal Qualities
In addition to professional abilities, a school counselor’s personal qualities enhance their ability to be effective.
 Creativity - As society changes over time, so will the needs of our students. School counselors need to be able to solve complex problems in an appropriate, ethical, and effective manner.
 Flexibility and Approachability- As no day will ever be the same, school counselors have to be flexible in managing their time and activities. They need to constantly adapt to new situations and respond to many different kinds of people. Students also need to have the feeling that they can approach their school counselor at any time.
Belief- School counselors need to be confident in their work and believe that they can make a difference in the student’s life.
Passion- The love school counselors have for this profession and their students is what keeps them going as they face difficult and complex situations. School counselors need to stay committed and find fulfillment in students becoming successful.

3) Role
The role of a school counselor cannot be described in a few words as they wear many hats in this profession. The primary obligations are:

  • To enable students to graduate. School counselors provide whatever it might be the student needs to accomplish this goal. Lindsey, a school counselor in Spokane explains that for one kid, this might be food and for the next one, it means calling CPS to assure the students safety. 
  • To solve problems. Students come to school counselors because their seeking extra assistance perhaps their parents, teachers or themselves could not solve.
  • To guide their academic process. Scheduling and credit tracking assure that the students have all the qualifications needed to go on to a higher level of education.

4) Most Challenging and Rewarding Aspects
This might vary from one school counselor to another but there will always be challenges and rewarding features in this profession.

  • Situations are complex. It is important to remember that people have different backgrounds and ways of handling circumstances. We need to be empathetic and respect students and their parents in their demands.
  •  Finding out what the real issue is and where to begin. School counselor need to collect experience in order to know what the proper steps are in the problem solving process.
  • According to Lindsey, the most rewarding aspect of her job is when kids overcome problems and find success. She enjoys seeing kids change negative behavior and go to college or even earn scholarships.
  • Working with a young generation that is eager to learn and will bring a lot to the future of our society and community.

School counselors have become pivotal to the school system and use their professional and personal qualities to fulfill their role as a student advocate; coinciding with many challenging and rewarding aspects and situations. They provide the resources students need to become successful individuals.

Images courtesy of: 

No comments:

Post a Comment