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Mental, Emotional, Educational and Vocational Resources for Students
Students of all ages face unique issues on a day-to-day basis that many adults either minimize or overlook altogether. In today’s educational system, school counselors may have one of the most strenuous jobs of all. Not only must they make themselves available to every student within the school, they must also serve a variety of functions that span a host of different categories and purposes.
School counseling includes:
- Providing career education
- Preventing violence or bullying
- Perform personality assessments
- Facilitate graduation
- Prevent “dropping out”
- Support self-esteem
In all reality, instead of asking what a school counselor does, you might be better served by asking what school counselors do not do in order to get a better idea of their duties.
School Counseling in the Elementary Educational Setting
Grades K-5 is a magical time in the development of academic self-awareness, confidence in learning and important social skills. In elementary school, counselors are there to provide education, prevention and intervention when, and if necessary, with a goal of creating well-rounded individuals who are equipped for the demands of middle school or junior high.
Since the elementary school years set the framework for the remainder of a child’s education, providing students with the proper resources and guidance plays an important role in their overall success in life. By partnering with other educational staff, school counseling professionals work to provide academic support, goal-setting, decision-making, problem-solving, career exploration, communication, conflict resolution, multicultural awareness and substance abuse education and prevention.
Working with students, teachers, parents and administrative staff, school guidance counselors allow children to make the most of their educational opportunities.
School Counseling in the Middle School and Junior High Settings
By middle school or junior high, students are no longer children, but instead, adolescents. During this time so widely referred to as “puberty,” students are faced not only with educational and academic challenges, but the obstacles of hormones, social stigmas, bullying and an increased need to fit in and find their place in the world.
During this point in their education, students are searching for their own personal identities and are exploring various interests and activities to define their own particular strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, they are working not only to absorb knowledge in the classroom, but to find ways to apply it in the world around them. On top of all of this, their bodies are going through tremendous spurts of growth and hormonal changes that can lead to fatigue, emotional stress and a sense of detachment from their once trusted parents, as they turn to their peers more and more for support.
During this time, school counseling offers academic support, organizational and test-taking skills, self-awareness instruction, coping mechanisms, peer relationships and pressure avoidance, career awareness and leadership development. With the proper programs in place, school counselors can help transform middle school and junior high students into high school students with a drive to succeed and graduate.
School Counseling in the High School and College Settings
By the time a student enters high school, they’re well on their way to emerging as a full adult. School counselors have the unique and weighty job of preparing them for the roles and responsibilities that will greet them once their education is over and their professions begin. As though the responsibilities of entering the work-force aren’t daunting enough, there are also the challenges of getting accepted into the “right” post-secondary schools, forming romantic relationships, avoiding drugs and alcohol, learning to drive and really getting the first tastes of freedom without letting it go to their heads.
Now more than ever, students must resist the urge to live only in the moment, but instead think ahead to their futures and make the right decisions. With the right school counselors on their side, students have a greater chance to succeed in school and beyond.