Take a look back at your early school years; what did you really know about life, money, business and the world? – Absolutely nothing! A child’s school years are defining moments in their life, it is at this stage that they develop their personalities and make important decisions that set the tone for the rest of their lives. With this much pressure and not enough life experience to learn from, it is important that they are guided and supported in all critical decision-making areas of their lives. As much as their parents act as their primary guides in life, it is important that the school play a large part in guiding the students as well and this is achieved through the school’s Guidance and Counseling system.
Nigerian private schools are gradually beginning to integrate counseling programs in their schools, and are reaping the benefits with students not just being able to make informed decisions about their future, but also be guided through learning disabilities, mental issues, and social interaction. If you are looking to establish a successful School Counseling program at your school here is what you need to know.
What is School Counseling?
School counseling is campus-based counseling that focuses on helping students make the best of their education while guiding them to develop optimally on all other aspects of their lives. School counselors work daily to help students make sense of the confusing world of academics and early adulthood, from choosing areas of study to dealing with friends, family issues and grief, school counseling programs cover all bases.
What does a School Counselor Do?
School Counselors strive to keep the best interests of each student at heart. These counselors are primarily responsible for career development; however, over the years their roles have evolved to include various counseling services. By evaluating each student’s strengths, weaknesses, interests, talents, and aspirations, the school counselor is able to provide tailored guidance program for each student. The duties of a school counselor typically include:
Academic and Career Counseling
The first and most important duty of a school counselor is career counseling. Counselors assess the interests, capabilities, and performance of each student to help guide them towards a fitting career path. They help students identify and select which areas of study align with their overall career goals, this could include making the choice between sciences, commerce or arts.
The school counselor also prompts students to take part in relevant programs and activities that set them on the path to gaining admission into a top university and career programs after they graduate. This could include extracurricular activities such as sports, community service, volunteering, part-time jobs and more. They also provide guidance to students having general academic related issues such as time management, declining performance, and study plans.
Although the school counselors are primarily responsible for students, they also provide support services to the teachers in the school. School counselors may be called upon to handle disciplinary issues raised by teachers or serve as a mediator of issues between students and teachers. Teachers also benefit from the relationships formed between school counselors and students and can tap into the counselor’s wealth of information to gain insight into student behavior. School counselors also play an advisory role in school management in a time of school policy restructuring.
Social and Emotional Counseling
Students face an onslaught of social, mental and emotional issues during their school years and rely on the support of a dedicated school counselor to get them through these trying times. At times where students do not feel comfortable talking about their problems at home, they will always have a listening ear in a school counselor. Issues such as bullying, drug abuse, and self-esteem and family issues can be raised and discussed in a safe and secure manner. School counselors facilitate group counseling sessions, and as the need arises it could be student-parent consultation, parent-teacher consultation or parent-parent consultations covering a wide range of educational, social or disciplinary issues.
Hiring a School Counselor
School counselors are fast becoming vital players in the school faculty, as their role requires them to take on more responsibilities than any other member of staff. Not only do they work directly with the students, they also work closely with teachers, parents and school management. The duties of the school counselor highlight the inherent benefits of a school counseling program, and it is advisable that private schools in Nigeria set up a school counselor program.
As this field is still somewhat uncharted in Nigeria, it can be a hassle finding able School Counselors. Key defining qualifications of an ideal candidate for this role include a Degree in Psychology, Education, Counseling or any related field; the ability to be empathetic, patient and compassionate; the drive to play a part in the successful development of the future generation of leaders.
Students who can rely on the able-hands and experience of a counselor at school seldom go astray when making critical life decisions regarding their education, future career path, and personal life. A guidance and counseling programme in your school will not only improve the quality of students but will also enhance the confidence of parents in your school’s ability to help their children discover and maximize their hidden potentials. Remember, parents, are a great engine for referrals to your school when they believe they are getting a better deal at your school.
First published by Allprotech.