It is human nature to take the easy way when given a choice between an easy option and a difficult one. However, the easy way is not always the best way to grow and progress. Growth occurs when adversity is present, not when there is an absence of adversity and everything is easy. The Roman poet Horace observed, “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.” Horace’s contention examines the role that adversity plays in the development of one’s character and understanding difficulty and suffering. It is in times of trouble, when adversities thrusts itself upon one that true character is make known. I am an optimist and believe that people are fundamentally good even if some people make bad choices. I always tell my students that there is no such thing as a bad person, just someone who has made some bad choices. It is refreshing that the ASCA National Model asserts that all students can learn and improve and works to realize that goal and overcome the obstacles that prevent students from being challenged (2012). People Can Change
Everyone needs hope that life can be wonderful, positive, and worth living for. I like to see others as they can become. As a professional school counselor, I can provide the incentive for positive change. Every person needs to feel that he or she amounts to something, that there are great possibilities or great expectations. Each person is capable and worthwhile given the right opportunities and chance to overcome past mistakes. People change when they are given hope, encouragement, and a way out of the troubles that consume them. As a professional school counselor, I have the opportunity to help students change their lives by developing a trusting relationship and helping them see ways to become better. Ultimately, the student has to make that choice for him or herself. I can only offer change, but that change has to be a decision the student makes of his or her own volition. Thomas Edison simply stated, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” If something doesn’t work to solve the problem, then one simply needs to attempt another way to make it work. The counselor is a collaborator
The professional school counselor is first and foremost a collaborator with the student being his first client. It is the counselor’s responsibility to champion the cause of the student who has lost all options by collaborating with families and other educators. As a collaborator, the counselor gives other stakeholders options to choose and avenues to meet goals so that the student can succeed. It can be tricky to make suggestions to teachers or administrators that have given up on a student to help them see that the student can overcome past mistakes. The counselor who can suggest a plan of action to help a student get back on track and then have administration and teachers think it was their plan is truly resourceful. The ASCA National Model asserts that “school counselors can access a vast array of support for student achievement and development that cannot be achieved by an individual, or school, alone (American School Counselor Association, 2012, p. 6).” Collaboration is vital to effectiveness of a school counseling program. Structure of school counseling
School counseling looks brief and active from the perspective of the professional school counselor. When I interviewed John Gavin (Mineral County School District Audit, 2014), he cautioned that his job was to help a student overcome a bump in the road and not to engage in mental health therapy. This really stayed with me and helped me to view counseling as a brief, short-term endeavor to assist a student overcome a problem. This conversation helped me to understand the need to refer a student out to medical or mental health professionals when the need would be warranted for whatever mental health disorder that a professional school counselor could not assist with. The school counseling program is closely connected to the scope, functions, and activities of the school. Client Resources
Client resources are vital to have on hand to be able to share with parents and students. In our school district the professional school counselor at Hawthorne Elementary School is the homeless liaison and all of those materials are kept in the office for when the need arises for their use. Information is printed about free food, free clothing, and other low cost necessities of life so that I can share these important resources with families that I work with. Information on how to apply for aid when anyone is a victim of a violent crime is also available. I was surprised at how many people didn’t know about this program. Community counseling is available in town and out of town for various issues to help families that are struggling. These resources would be incorporated as I see needs, but also some of the literature is on display in my office. Goals for Counseling
Goals for counseling are set by three primary entities. As a professional school counselor, I would set goals to meet needs of students in compiling an annual calendar to ensure important tasks are completed. Administration sets goals for counseling in the two schools I service. Two principals have asked for help in teaching classroom guidance for each class on a weekly basis. Individual and small group counseling is carried out by the high school professional school counselor until another school counselor is hired. One thing that stood out to me as I have studied about the professional school counselor is that there are a lot more activities than simply classroom guidance, individual counseling, and small group counseling. I need to work with the principals to set other goals for counseling so that I can collaborate effectively for the school team for the needs of the students. The last entity that sets goals for counseling is the state of Nevada. An auditor comes to campus once a year to perform an audit of the school counseling program and he reviews the program to ensure the goals of the state department of education are being adhered to effectively.
American School Counselor Association. (2012). The ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs, Third Edition. Alexandria, VA. Gavin, J. (2014, December 8). Mineral County School District Audit. (C. Mayes, Interviewer)