We’ve all seen them in TV shows and movies where kids are in school. They used to be called “guidance counselors” and they were often portrayed as overly nice people who invited out-of-control students to have awkward conversations that they dreaded. In reality, the role of the school counselor is much more subtle. Students can come to them voluntarily to seek advice. If a student has a mandatory meeting with a counselor, the goal is to improve the student’s situation for their own benefit, rather than correct it for the benefit of the school.
For a counselor, there’s no higher calling than improving the lives of their students academically, socially, and psychologically.
What Does a School Counselor Do?
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Depending on the level of education of the student, a school counselor’s role may vary. However, it always covers a few broad categories. Counselors are responsible for working with students who need help managing their behavior, keeping up academically, or planning for the future. Counselors also work with administrators, teachers, and parents to develop a comfortable, healthy school environment free of bullying or illegal activities.
A School Counselor’s Changing Role
The American School Counselor’s Association (ASCA) offers detailed literature about the role of the school counselor. One of the major components of that role is accountability. School counselors are responsible for analyzing data on their own effectiveness and adjusting their techniques to maximize their value to students. As a result, the role of the counselor is ever-changing and depends on a variety of factors at work within the school.
One of the most important recent changes to the school counselor’s role is dealing with new forms of bullying, especially cyberbullying. Students of younger and younger ages are using technology for communication and socializing and by doing so are putting themselves at risk for a type of bullying that is difficult to deal with for both student and counselor. A school counselor must be aware of new social issues that constantly arise between students based on changing trends.
Make a Difference as a School Counselor
If you’ve ever wanted to become a school counselor, you might find that the job has changed between when you start studying and when you earn your master’s and get placed at a school. Like many other professions, the field of school counseling is constantly evolving and requires a comprehensive education before work as well as a continuing education during the course of the work.
The Importance of the School Counselor
A counselor is always there to offer advice to students at crucial turning points in their lives. Whether these counselors work in elementary, middle, or high schools, they are there for students who are going through a difficult time or just need advice and support. A few words from a helpful counselor can profoundly impact a student’s life by improving their outlook on school, family, and the future.
So a school counselor isn’t just the awkward hippy trope you see in movies and on TV. Counselors are real people with a real interest in helping students learn and grow. They help create an environment for students to find their path to a successful adult life.