“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” – Chinese Proverb
Counselling can come in many shapes and forms, but when it comes to school counselling, it should always be about the children’s wellbeing first and foremost. The same is true for teachers and anyone else working in education.
Whether it’s due to special educational needs, bullying, harassment, problems at home, etc., every counsellor needs to adapt their approach to the child’s needs.
Let’s have a quick look at exactly what different types of counsellors do.
Helping Children Achieve Academic Success
With school counselling, one of the main goals is to ensure that children don’t struggle or fall behind in their studies.
- Effective learning
- Psychological development
- Development outside of school
School counselling needs to help students regardless of their level or social standing.
For students in primary school, counselling is more about helping students to cope with schooling and integrate better into class. Counsellors will need an excellent understanding of child psychology as well as keen observation skills, especially when it comes to very young children.
In some cases, there’s a lot of overlap between counselling and special educational needs teachers in terms of their remit, but the main goal is to ensure children get the most out of their time at school.
In terms of special educational needs, there are other considerations that a specialist may be tasked with, especially if there are students with limited mobility.
In short, whether it’s a counsellor, SEN specialist, or a supporting member of staff, the objective is ensuring that every pupil can integrate into their classes.
Helping Students with Their Career Choices
In secondary schools, counsellors tend to focus on the students’ career choices. After all, this is when a lot of students have to make academic decisions that will affect their future careers.
They can help students to choose the right degree courses or apprenticeships after school and they can also help them to apply to said courses, internships, or apprenticeships.
Certain counsellors are also responsible for the mental and emotional wellbeing of the students, which can be very important during adolescence and when students have plenty of exams to worry about. They can help them manage stress during exams to make sure they get the results they deserve or help students with studying and managing their workloads.
Counsellors will often be called upon to help students who are falling behind or struggling in certain classes for personal reasons. Their teacher or a teaching assistant will normally be called upon if the root of the problems is academic, but for other problems, a counsellor may be needed.
For those looking to help secondary school students, there are a number of different career options.
Helping Students with Social Integration
School isn’t just about academic success. It’s supposed to be the best years of your life and making friends and socialising are important parts of it. The help of a counsellor may be required for students who are struggling to integrate or make friends in their classes.
In primary school, the teachers often plan lessons that help students develop social skills with group activities and tasks to encourage teamwork and interaction. As children get older, they tend to gravitate towards groups of friends with shared interests so it's important for kids to interact with their peers.
A school counsellor won’t want any of the students to be left out and students can’t get the most out of their time at school if they’re not enjoying the enriching social side of things.
One of a counsellor’s most important jobs is to ensure that every child is safe.
They need to:
- Spot signs of stress
- Notice indicators of abuse
- Defuse instances of bullying
- Offer counselling to students or refer them to a therapist or psychiatrist outside of the school
- Contact the appropriate authorities when necessary
- Contact social services in some cases
A school counsellor needs to communicate effectively with students while also having a good eye for indicators of abuse or problems, which goes well beyond what many are taught on a psychology degree, especially in situations when a child’s wellbeing is at risk.
There’s a strict code of ethics that counsellors and those involved in children’s wellbeing have to follow and it can be difficult to stay calm when a child’s wellbeing is at stake, but it’s necessary in order to offer the best care and support.
For certain special educational needs, a professional is often placed in charge of a child’s welfare whilst they attend school.
Developing Counselling Strategies
In some cases, there are counsellors who help develop the strategies employed in a school or across several schools. Their job is to give others the tools and training necessary to help the students in their care.
They could be part of a team that helps put policy into action at schools.
Beyond academic strategies, they could also help teachers develop the skills to provide better support to their students.
They could even run workshops or assemblies on:
- Understanding and empathy
- Understanding disabilities
This type of role might be used support the counsellors or pastoral team at a school, which could involve an ongoing effort to better understand certain issues.
There are so many different roles for those who want to help provide support in schools and there are many different jobs you can do with the skills needed to be a school counsellor. While some start with a degree in psychology, there are many different options in terms of qualifications, too.
If you’re an empathetic and compassionate person that’s studied psychology or counselling, you’ll have a lot of career choices. If you love to listen, like to help, and are patient, school counselling could be the career for you.
If you're interested in learning more about counselling, psychology, or psychiatry, consider getting help from one of the many excellent private tutors on Superprof. There are tutors in a wide variety of subjects and skills offering face-to-face, online, or group tutorials to those looking to learn new things.
Each type of tutoring comes with pros and cons in terms of pedagogy and cost so make sure that you think carefully about which one would be right for you and your budget before you start your lessons.
Face-to-face tutorials are the most common and are probably what you'd imagine private tutorials to be. These are one-on-one sessions with a tutor and a student and can take place anywhere both parties are happy to meet, though they often take place in either the student's or the tutor's home. With every minute of the session dedicated to the student, these are often the most effective type of tutorials, but you can expect to pay a premium for all the extra planning and travelling the tutor will do. However, it still tends to be the most cost-effective type of tutoring available.
Online tutorials are an excellent choice for those unable to find any tutors in their local area as you can enjoy these types of tutorials from tutors all over the world. While online tutoring isn't ideal for certain hands-on subjects and skills, they can be just as effective as face-to-face tutorials with more academic subjects like counselling, psychology, or psychiatry, for example. Furthermore, since the tutor doesn't have to travel to their students, they often charge less than face-to-face tutors.
Group tutorials are great for those on a tighter budget. While you won't get to enjoy one-on-one tuition, you will end up paying less since the cost of the tutor's time and expertise will be shared amongst the students in attendance. This type of tutoring also gives you a great opportunity to learn as part of the group and learn from one another both during and outside of your tutorials.
Before you start contacting tutors, it's always wise to have a clear idea of what you're looking for in a tutor. Make a list of requirements before you start browsing for tutors on the Superprof website. Once you've found a few tutors that are what you're looking for, you can start getting in touch with them, discussing what kind of tutoring your after, and arranging sessions.
Don't forget that a lot of the tutors on Superprof offer the first lesson for free so you can try potential tutors out before deciding upon which one is right for you and your budget.