Between 2020 and August 2022, COVID-19 led to the death of over six million people worldwide. The world found itself face-to-face with an economic crisis so big that it’ll take decades to recover from this for some countries.
Then came the Russia-Ukraine war in early 2022. So far, between 12,000 to 30,000 people have died in the war, with millions having to flee their country and seek refuge in foreign lands.
On top of all that, there’s always the growing threat of mass shootings in America. Between January and May of 2022, 300 mass shootings were recorded in the United States.
All these events impact us, and they impact school kids even more since they are so young. With so much happening every year, who knows how things will be in 2023? So, you need to prepare your school for this, and the best way to do so is by hiring a good counselor.
Before you hire one, here are a few qualities to look for in a school counselor.
Good Listening Skills
Good listening skills are a school counselor’s most important quality. A counselor has to be able to listen to the students and the teachers of their school, as well as parents and other professionals. They must also be able to listen to the community and even their school board. The more a counselor listens, the better understanding they will have of the needs at that particular school or district and how best to meet them.
Listening can help them provide more effective services for students who need extra support in their education journey. Unless a counselor can properly listen to their students, they can’t provide proper support.
Ability to Assess
When a counselor is assessing a student, they should look for academic, social, and emotional needs. Here’s how they should do it:
- Ask the student what they need help with. This allows counselors to develop trust and rapport with them.
- Create a list of questions that will give counselors information about the types of interventions that would be appropriate for each student based on their specific goals and needs.
- Use different types of assessment tools such as questionnaires, interviews, or checklists when observing students in their natural environment.
Excellent communicators are the most valuable counselors. They listen and communicate with parents, teachers, and students in a way that enables them to understand one another. For a school counselor to be an excellent communicator, they ensure the following:
- Listen carefully to what parents say about their children and relay it back to the kids.
- Communicate with students about issues going on at school, such as bullies or problems in classwork.
- Communicate with teachers about student issues they may have at school (e.g., bullying).
- Communicate with parents of those who are struggling at home because of things happening at school (e.g., depression).
School counselors need to have an academic background in psychology, education, and/or social work. School counseling programs vary across the country, but they typically include courses such as adolescent development, classroom organization, and management, crisis intervention strategies, school violence prevention strategies, etc.
A bachelor’s and a master’s degree are a must. On top of that, it will be even better if the counselor has a doctor of counseling degree. A Ph.D. holder like this will have the skills and experience you need for the school. They can also bring in expertise in more fields than what you may need.
The counseling relationship is one where students feel they can talk openly with the counselor about their feelings and experiences, and issues that are affecting them in school or at home. Counselors will also help teachers to understand the needs of individual students so that they can plan more appropriate learning experiences for each child.
The counselor must be accepting of students and faculty members from diverse backgrounds. They should never discriminate in any way or form and must always make their clients feel comfortable. Unless they can do so, it will be hard for them to support these students and teachers.
A friendly face can make a big difference in a student’s day. As you walk into the building, your counselor should be there to greet you and make your students feel welcome. Counselors should be willing to listen as they talk about their problems, and they should also provide advice or guidance if needed.
A friendly face can help students feel safe and secure at school by helping them properly resolve their issues. Your school counselor needs to listen carefully when students share what is bothering them so that they can try to find solutions together.
Ability to Coordinate Efforts With Other Educators
The school counselor must coordinate efforts with other educators to provide additional services as required, such as tutoring or remedial reading groups. The counselor must work effectively with students and teachers to address their academic needs. They must also work with parents and other school staff members to foster a sense of community at the school.
School counseling is complicated but rewarding work. School counselors need to be able to assess students’ needs and make recommendations for intervention. They also need to communicate with parents, teachers, and students. So, before you hire a school counselor, ensure that they have all these qualities.