School counseling is one of a school’s most critical elements and activities. Students need the best mental health, no stress, depression, and other mental challenges to ensure they can learn effectively. Most schools employ counselors, but in the absence of counselors, the teacher can still be the best counselor the student needs.
As a counselor, there are different roles the teacher has to play to excel in their work. Moreover, other skills are necessary to succeed in the job and help students effectively. Here are some guidelines to consider.
The Role Of A Teacher As A Student Counselor
- Show sympathy and support
One of the critical roles of student counseling is to prove to the students that there is always someone to listen to them, and that person is their teacher. Secondly, when faced with emotional turmoil and stressful situations, students tend to feel alone, and it’s best to offer them some companionship. Therefore, the teacher should offer the needed support and shoulder for the student to lean on during stressful and emotional challenges. The teacher’s role is to prove to the students that they understand what the student is going through. Sympathy and willingness to support are critical traits of a confident counselor.
- Issue Guidance
After offering the needed support and sympathy, the teacher must be ready to provide the necessary solutions. The teacher should understand the students’ challenges and create measures to help them.
- Stakeholder cooperation
When a student has a challenge, it can sometimes be difficult for the teacher to solve all the problems. Some issues may require close coordination between teachers, parents, and other stakeholders, such as child support services. Therefore, the teacher should lead the process of discussing with the stakeholders to help the student deal with the current challenges.
- A point of reference
Many students prefer to turn to their teacher for help in case of specific challenges, especially when the issues arise at home, with other students, and other personal issues. Therefore, the teacher must act as the best point of reference for the students to turn to in case of need. The teacher must show emotional stability and other traits for the students to trust them.
How Does The Teacher Succeed In These Roles?
Being the source of support can be a challenging task for the teacher hence the need for specific skills to be the best counselor. As a counselor, the teacher should have these skills.
- Establish a rapport
A rapport is a relationship between the teacher and the student needing guidance. The established connection is critical to motivating the student to open up and talk about what they are going through. The positive relations will help the student open up and trust the teacher, revealing the exact challenge they are going through.
- Excellent listening skills
Understanding whatever the student is going through requires the teacher to be a keen listener and maintain eye contact with the student to ensure they get accurate details. The teacher should deploy good listening skills such as eliminating distractors such as phones.
While listening, there is a need to allow the student to speak as much as they want. This is part of the diagnosis, and it begins by listening. You must ensure the student has enough time to discuss their challenges.
- Confidentiality and privacy
Maintaining privacy and keeping a secret is vital for the student to trust you and admit what they are going through. Gain the relevant credibility to keep the students’ issues private. Sometimes you need not keep journals, making the student think their issues could be shared. Before taking notes, ensure you understand the student you are dealing with. If they are open, you can take some notes; if they are adamant and shy, you may not need the notebook.
- Do not be judgmental.
While the students express what they are going through, do not share your opinions or make certain body gestures that make you appear judgmental. Give the student enough time to share their story and do not have any opinions or judgments. Your statements should come when you begin the counseling session as you guide the student through their current situation.
Do not let your emotions out, even if you are overwhelmed or pitiful. Expressing your feelings can sometimes be a form of judgment and make the students feel judged. Show pity when necessary but allow the student to cry out their emotions and perhaps give them a drink like water to calm them instead of sharing their feelings and emotions.
- Read widely
As a teacher, you train on matters related to psychology, communication, and other critical issues involved in handling the students. The knowledge from the training institutes is not enough, and you need to constantly read the books related to psychology and stay up to date about social issues that may affect the students. Reading provides the knowledge you need when finding solutions and understanding the student.
As a teacher, you must understand your role in ensuring your students are happy and mentally healthy. Sometimes you need to be their support system when faced with different issues. You need to offer the proper guidance and be the leader when seeking help in matters that require other stakeholder involvement. You also need the proper communication, listening, and diverse knowledge and must learn how to maintain student confidentiality. Moreover, you also need to read widely to ensure you have diverse knowledge to help the student.