So, I've been thinking of going back to school to become a school counselor. I am curious for those who have worked in the school system how you view the role of a school counselor. I was also discouraged because I was told that school counselors will not have as much contact with the kids as I would like. Any thoughts?
June 25, 2013 at 2:39 PM
I do not know much about them. However, when the school recently talked to me about retaining my daughter, they had a counselor in the meeting. The counselor never spoke, but was introduced to me. I eventually asked why she in the meeting, because I was not aware that my kids were seen by a school counselor (I thought I had to give permission). I was told that she was there to "observe" the meeting. I asked if she knew my child. She said "I knew I was coming to this meeting so I went and observed your daughter for a few minutes in class. She appears to have self esteem issues about being so far behind with her reading level." Stunned, I said "Oh, how so? Did you speak with her?" She said "No, but she had her hair in her face when I oberved her." My daughter had JUST had her very long hair cut just days prior to this. I had it with long bangs that swipe across her face and the front of her hair longer than the back. She had been playing with her hair a lot since the haircut.
I also do not like that I feel that the counselor "observing the meeting" was to get a "read" off of me.
That is my only experience with a school counselor and so it didn't leave a good impression. I can only hope this isn't how most schools work.
My experience with counselors while in high school myself was that my "couselor" told me that he did not need to help me find scholarships because I was not in NHS. So I probably came into the system as a teacher with a poor idea of a counselor.
I can tell you a few stories about the ones I interacted with as a teacher. Mostly they were there to call CPS. I found that a girl I was teaching had an eating disorder and reported it as I was required to the couselor. The counselor asked me to be in all of the meetings because she did not know the girl. Mostly, the parent and the girl spoke to me and the couselor set up meetings with a social worker.
When I had a middle eastern boy who told me that his parents beat him and threw him in the closet every night, the couselor called CPS. I had to then deal with the fallout from it because it was actually a cultural thing. The boy was lying to me and it was okay for him to lie (in his culture) because the truth would not be expected in the situation. Again, the counselor knew nothing about the boy, so it was only a call to CPS.
I have many more, but those are my experiences. I worked with 9th graders, so from what I understand the couselors work with the older students when they start looking into future plans.
by PEEK05June 25, 2013 at 4:56 PM
I never really had any experience with our school counselors except when they came in the classrooms to help choose classes for the next year.
Only time I dealt with a counselor was in high school when we had to choose classes.
I wouldn't do it personally. I was to stay as far away from the PS institution as possible. I debated working part time doing crossing duty for extra $ at the school by my house and then decided it wasn't a good plan.
I never had a need to go to a counselor. All the bad examples of counselor just tells me they need some good ones. You can also go to a private school. It is possible you can help kids a bit more in the private sector. If you want to do it then go for it.
So, in my opinion, there need to be some really kick a$$ counselors in our schools. Ones who are prepared to bust the camel's hump to get it right. Ones who LOVE kids. Not the kids who sit nice in class and who have perfect manners and are able to deal with the hierarchical expectations (you know, the kids who know the adults are in charge and kids have no real say). Counselors are there to see the kids who are having some difficulties. Counselors should be the saving grace of those kids. Counselors have a tough, tough, tough job. My oldest has had one counselor who was worth his and our time. The others....well, if they fell in a river, I'd really have to think long and hard about lending a hand.
A major problem for counselors right now is that there is so much need, so few resources. But if you can go into it with the knowledge that it's going to be tough and you're gonna work your a$$ off to the bone, there's never going to be enough of you to go around, and that love is your best tool (and I can't stress that one enough), I say go for it. And fight to see the kids. That's what your job is supposed to be for. Those kids need it and deserve someone who treasures them, who loves them, who respects them, and is willing to spend their jobs fighting for them, not with them.
I adored my elementary school counselor. She was an older lady and set "fun things" up for the school.
A good friend of mine teaches elementary and tells me how the counselor is very hard core during their big testing week. She is in charge of that I guess. The teachers have strict guidelines to follow while picking up testing booklets etc. from her.
I *think* she meets with the classes whole group once a week as well.
In our school we have the counselor come in once a week to each class to do a little lesson. In the next school up (I work in the kindergarten that is in it's own building) the guidance counselor does small social groups at lunch time, and deals a lot with 504 plans/behavior plans, and talks to kids when they need to go to her. But she really doesn't do a lot *with* the kids, IMO.
I think it would depend on what grade level you wanted to work with. And unfortunately, around here, we have a lot more qualified counselors than job openings, so that's an issue for a lot of people that want to get into it.
Good luck, I hope you get to do it if you are really interested in doing it!