Monday, November 3, 2014

The Personal and Professional Qualities that Encompass a Successful School Counselor

After interviewing a High School Counselor and a second grade teacher, I had an interesting comparison of the two perspectives.  They both did not hesitate to say that the greatest issues facing today’s youth are perceived problems from their home lives.  Some of these issues that they are witnessing in our schools are: divorce, no support from parents, a lack of motivation and trauma.  It was referred as by the second grade teacher, “The breakdown of the American family”. What can we do to help our students?  To make their lives safer and more secure?  In order to assist them we need to possess certain qualities.

The three most important qualities of a school counselor, according to both a qualified school counselor herself and an experienced teacher are:

  1. The ability to build a trusting, safe relationship with students and parents.  To have a trusting relationship with both students and parents may take time.  In order to attain trust, we need to be available with both our time and our listening.  A school counselor has a variety of time consuming tasks.  However, our number one priority is the direct needs of our students.  In order to listen effectively, we need to have empathy.  We also need to view every student as an individual, with unique needs.
  2. Efficient communication and collaboration among administrators, teachers, parents and community in regards to students.  Communication and collaboration are important qualities for school counselors to possess, as seen by both school counselors and teachers.  They both believe that it is crucial for students’ success to have everyone working together as a team.  If everyone that is involved with the student knows exactly what is happening in their lives, it will be much easier to assist them, assess their progress, and make accommodations/changes as needed. 
  3. Self-care.  The duties of a school counselor can be both mentally and physically challenging.  Self-care has been emphasized by almost everyone that I have come into contact with in regards to the counseling profession. Taking time for you to regroup and retain strength and composer is essential in this active occupation. 

In my many interactions with professionals in the field, it occurs to me that these three qualities are extremely important to attain in the school-counseling role.  I’m sure there are others, and it will be enlightening and exciting to add the list!

Photos Provided By:

Holding hands -
Communication -…
Self-care - Green Mountain at Fox Run

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