What are the responsibilities of a school counselor?

School counselors fulfill many roles within the sphere of children's education, and their responsibilities may change depending upon the level at which they work. Counselors are trained educators with an additional focus on mental health and development. This provides them with the skill set they require to face the challenges of their chosen work environment. In the article below, we'll explore the rigors and responsibilities of counselors to provide interested readers with a better understanding of the responsibilities and challenges of the position.

Depending on the Day

As children grow, their emotional, intellectual, and social needs do too. School counselors play an active part in helping individuals to develop healthy relationships with their peers, cope with academic challenges, and create a resilient sense of self during this critical developmental period. As children grow, so too does the role of counselor to include academic career planning and troubleshooting on an individual basis.

They will also engage in small group or class counseling to mitigate negative trends perceived by teachers and administrators, such as bullying or violent behaviors and inappropriate activities. They provide resources for children displaying tendencies that may put them in academic jeopardy and actively intervene in cases of abuse, emotional and psychological disturbance, or unaddressed cognitive issues.

For older students in a secondary educational environment, counselors help them cope with the mounting pressure to succeed academically. The high school environment is rife with intense social and psychological currents. During this time, individuals are identifying and adopting systems of ethics that are unique to them. While earlier periods are often mapped onto the systems of adults in their lives, children begin to experiment with different social concepts and ethical frameworks during this time. Counselors assist them in this exploration via direct or indirect involvement.

Specific Identification and Interaction

School guidance counselors work with many different parties in and around the educational cosmos. While they have specific duties to directly interface with students, they also collaborate with the adults in students' lives.

Administrators rely on the specialized education of these counselors to craft the overall mood of the school in question. They also address specific disturbances by crafting behavioral management plans for individuals or performing needs assessments to identify problems and provide solutions. Data gathering and interpretation is a cornerstone of the job, whether assisting in the administering of standardized testing, gifted or general placement tests or behavioral assessments for individuals and groups.

To the Future

While career planning may be most nebulous at the elementary level, counselors also guide students in this capacity. As children grow, this aspect of counseling becomes more focused and concrete. During the early years, counselors help to provide opportunities for learning and exploring different fields. At later points, they work directly with students and teachers to help individuals find the educational paths that will take them where they want to go. During high school and beyond, their focus on career guidance intensifies further. They may directly consult with students to find solutions to specific problems, address career goals, and provide for academic needs.

The training these individuals receive is perhaps more complex than any other role within the educational spectrum. While they may focus on a specific developmental stage in the lives of children, they are certified both as educators and as mental health practitioners. The responsibilities of a school counselor are all geared towards creating a healthy developmental environment and assisting individual students in their quest to succeed.

Related Resource: The 20 Best Online Masters in School Counseling Programs