The role of the School Counselor is big and it can vary school to school. The actual responsibilities of School Counselors can be different depending on state, district and school. At least one commonality exists for all School Counselors and that is that our job is to foster the social and emotional growth and well being of all students.
So how does that happen? At MDES I see each grade from K-5 on a weekly basis to do whole group lessons. These lessons include but are not limited to the following topics: friendship, kindness, emotions, teamwork, bullying, internet safety, conflict resolution, decision making, self-esteem, advocacy, social skills, and mindfulness. For 6-8th grade, I work with the teachers and provide lessons when needed. Topics that often need to be addressed are bullying, cyberbullying, leadership and dealing with anxiety. I also co-teach a couple of units of the health curriculum.
When not teaching classes I work individually with students. I have many kids that I see on a weekly basis. Often kids are referred to see me because they struggle with anxiety or depression. Sometimes students need some extra help with social skills and we will meet to address those needs. Students are referred through teachers, parents, 504 or IEP plans. Kids are also really great at referring themselves. They are fantastic self-advocates. Of course, students are also welcome to drop-in when issues arise. My goal is to help students learn how to navigate through tough situations with adults and peers alike.
I strongly believe that kids learn best when their emotional needs are addressed. As such, I try to create a safe space for all students to access. I’m lucky to work with fantastic teachers and an administrator who sees the needs of the whole child.