Last Updated on Jul 6, 2022 by James W
It is normal for students not to have their life figured out. They tend to have several queries and confusions regarding academics, mental and physical health, socializing, and career choices. School counselors play an essential role in shaping students’ school experience and future. They serve as a support system for students to guide them through various challenges. School counselors also provide clarity and assistance for parents, guardians, teachers, and school administration.
The role of a counselor requires one to show commendable patience and compassion and demonstrate exceptional interpersonal skills. It is not easy for anyone to become a school counselor due to the immense responsibility and skills this job demands. Hence, to qualify as a counselor, one must secure at least a master’s in counseling, psychology, or a related field.
School counselors are an integral part of the school community. Let’s look at some reasons every school needs counselors.
1. Student Guidance
School counselors monitor the progress of students and guide them on social, career, and academic challenges. They can help students manage their time better and get the help they need at school instead of visiting other support avenues after school. Another critical role of school counselors is to motivate students to concentrate on their studies better and participate in more social and extra-curricular activities.
2. Suicide Prevention
School counselors are qualified to discuss student distress and trauma. They are also responsible for establishing protocols for suicide cases. School counselors need to hold the relevant degree to deal with such sensitive matters. A School Counseling Master’s Degree in Crisis and Trauma can equip counselors with the qualifications and knowledge to help students experiencing distress. It can help improve professional orientation and pave the way for career growth and development.
3. Early Intervention
Reacting and placing plans after an unfortunate event only ends in damage. School counselors need to identify issues and lay effective plans and strategies before a tragedy concerning any of the students occurs. For instance, if a student is facing depression, anxiety or stress, a school counselor might be able to identify the causes for these symptoms. A good counselor should get students to speak up about what is bothering them and provide adequate support on time. In case of a larger issue, they need to determine whether outside help is necessary and recommend a professional accordingly.
4. Parental Support
The support of school counselors is not just limited to students; it is also essential for them to keep parents and guardians in the loop. School counselors offer parents and guardians support and meet up with them to help them understand the career goals of their children. They also facilitate discussions with parents regarding social provocations and disciplinary decisions concerning their children. Parents can also clarify their concerns and queries regarding their children with counselors.
5. Special Needs Students
School counselors need to show extra care and support for special needs students and cater to their specific needs. They also need to stay in touch with the parents or guardians of differently-abled students or those with special needs. School counselors need to help them understand the availability of psychologists, nurses, social workers, and resource teachers. Moreover, school counselors work simultaneously with personnel to create a positive collaborative approach to ensure that all students achieve success.
6. Community Support
In unfortunate situations such as suicide, school counselors need to call professionals outside the school. A student committing suicide is likely to take a huge toll on everyone who knew that student in any capacity. Therefore, school counselors must be well-connected with other professionals working in similar fields. Additional mental health professionals can help students process death and sorrow more effectively. Furthermore, a counselor may also conduct sessions with the school’s staff to identify any problems with the children, such as unusual behaviors or inattentiveness in class following such horrifying incidents.
7. Teaching Effectiveness
School counselors can work together with teachers to improve teaching effectiveness and meet educational goals. They can work hand-in-hand to plan classroom sessions that combine guidance along with theory to teach students effectively. Counselors can also use several activities to understand student learning and behavior patterns. They can then pass on necessary feedback to their teachers to help them improve and get the attention they deserve.
School counselors can also review student results to ensure that teachers understand students’ implications. Taking their interests and activities into consideration, counselors can also assist teachers in designing courses for efficient delivery.
8. Administrative Support
School administrators are in charge of managing all the school operations and activities. Counselor support and collaboration extend to school administration as well. They need to ensure that the academic mission aligns with the counseling program. School counselors also develop and implement programs to help admin staff augment student learning and development more effectively. Furthermore, counselors use data from the program for grant applications and funding purposes.
9. Additional Help
School counselors play a major role in bringing in more student enrolments for the school. Schools that have career counselors are more preferred by parents and guardians as opposed to schools without them. Parents feel their children are in good hands when a school encourages counseling sessions for troubled youngsters. Therefore, schools should hire qualified counselors and develop proper management systems so students can benefit from counseling services.
School counselors play a significant role in shaping the life of the students. They help students make better decisions regarding their academics, social life, health, and career path. However, the support is not restricted to students only; they also support parents, teachers, and administrative staff.
Therefore, school counselors need to demonstrate patience, compassion, and effective listening and communication skills. The role is not easy and requires a lot of dedication and perseverance. Therefore, to qualify as a counselor, it is vital to attain at least a master’s in school counseling or psychology. These programs teach you how to develop and practice the necessary skills for effective student, parent or teacher counseling. In the end, you have a huge responsibility on your shoulders, so make sure you are well-prepared.