As I reflect on my personal values and understanding of the counseling profession I cannot help but think of the great educators who came before me looking for answers and wanting to transform the society in which they lived. For I believe that an effective school counselor as an educator does just that attempts to transform the society in which he/she lives. Samuel Adams (1779) one of this nation’s founding fathers, in his letter to James Warren once wrote, “If virtue and knowledge are diffuses among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.”
Education should always be that freeing agent that is always readily available to all students. It should be a system that looks at the entire child and is able to bring out the best qualities they possess. This urgency, this need to give every student an equal opportunity to learn and be free from biases or oppressions, should be at the core of a school counselor’s mission, to ensure that all students are given the same opportunity. This aligns itself with the ASCA National Model’s view that every students should have equal access to not only the academics of the school, but the school’s counseling program as well. It is what drives my philosophy and makes me analyze what it truly means to be a school counselor.
My Counseling Philosophy
I believe that every student has intrinsic value that should be nourished. It is part of their human nature. They were born with something to give this world and as counselors-educators we should look for a variety of ways to help them develop appropriately and receive the overall care them need to succeed. A school counselor’s primary role should be to celebrate and draw upon the students’ strength, while at the same times developing support systems that create a positive environment for them, and provides them with the academic, career, and personal/social counseling they need. This takes time and dedication.
A school counselor needs to be dedicated to the students, advocating in their behalf, standing as a bridge, and making sure that they receive the assistance they need to make the right choices, to manage their emotions, to cope in times of crisis, and to overcome the barriers that are impeding their academic, career, or social/personal growth. This requires reflection and the opportunity to change. Not all students can change at the same time.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen. For example, many believed that students who underwent a very bad, very traumatic event in their lives would end up being nasty, aggressive, and uncaring; and to some extent this was true. However, Starratt (2012), concluded in his book, Cultivating an Ethical School, that with enough care, enough understanding, and enough respect, most students can change. Therefore, it is the school counselor’s job to flourish that change and make the difference in the lives of children. That is why I believe that all students can achieve therefore, all deserve the chance to achieve.
This takes a school counselor who understands the counseling process and adhere to the ASCA National Counseling Model which indicates that counselors should deliver a core base system that sets goals, objectives and high expectations for all students. One that evaluates what is going on and draws conclusions, not based on subjective data, but objective data that sees the whole student and what he/she is truly capable of accomplishing.
A counselor is always proactive and knows how to make data driven decisions that will help the students change in a fair, concise way. This requires me to believe that I need to, as a school counselor, support the school’s mission towards academic achievement and learn how to collaborate and effectively community with all stakeholders. This is especially necessary in order to comply with the many hats that school counselors wear.
The school counselors wears many hats. One of the hats is that of a curriculum developer (Dollarhide & Saginak, 2012). The school’s guidance curriculum should consist of structured lessons that help to fulfill the needs that our students’ face. This sometimes takes the help of other educators, parents, and the community. That is why a school counselor effectively leads a collaborative effort to create, implement, evaluate, and revise their counseling program to continuously meet the needs of the students: academically, emotionally, developmentally, or socially.
Association School Counselor Association. (2012). The ASCA national model: A framework for
school counseling programs. Alexandria, VA: Author. Retrieved from www.schoolcounselor.org
Dollarhide, C.T. & Saginak, K.A. (2012). Comprehensive school counseling programs: K-12
delivery systems in action. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Starratt, R.J. (2014). Cultivating an ethical school. New York, NY: Taylor and Francis Group.