We are human. We wish we had magical powers and we could make your child realize how important education, homework, good behavior, good choices, and future goals are in the grand scheme of things. We really do. If we had the magical formula to assure your kid turns in his assignments on time, we’d share it with you. But, we don’t. We can listen to your unique concerns and offer advice and solutions based on our experiences. We can work together towards a solution, but know that simple quick fixes are few and far between. If you child is used to turning in assignments late, it could take months of learning new organization skills and breaking bad habits before we see results.
We can't force your child to accept our help. We can talk to them, offer solutions, and do our very best to reach them but inevitably its out of our control. Your child has learned coping mechanisms and formed her own views on therapy. We can reach out to them several times but we don't have magical powers (see above) to fix things. It can take time. It may take lots of patience, persistence, and your help. We are one small piece in the bigger picture. We understand you may ask us not to tell your child you asked us to talk to them, but consider what message you are sending when you make this request. If your child needs help, asking us to intervene, even against their wishes, is a responsible and loving thing to do!
We don't have all the answers. We don't always know when prom tickets go on sale or how to get a parking permit. We don't know why your child got a 50 on his last quiz. Feel free to ask us, but you will get a quicker answer by contacting the office in charge or teacher. If you need us to intervene or want advice, we're here for you! But if you need to know if Mrs. B accepts late work, you're best bet is to email her directly.
We aren't therapists. Don't get me wrong. We are trained to provide therapy. That just isn't our role as a school counselor. We don’t have the ability to meet with every student on a weekly basis (although we may try!) to provide effective therapeutic treatment. We are trained to deal with a variety of issues but our time is limited, our caseloads are large, and our responsibilities are endless. We simply can't provide long-term effective therapeutic treatment and may recommend outside counseling for your child.
Its okay go above us. We aren't telling you no to be difficult. We have to follow the rules. If you feel you need more than you're getting, contact an administrator.
Respect our time. We understand emergencies arise, but just like you wouldn’t show up at your doctors office without an appointment, stopping by without an appointment and expecting us to be available to see you immediately is unreasonable. If you have an emergency, we will do our best to see you as soon as possible. You may have found out that your child is in danger of failing a class and that feels very urgent to you, but it can wait a day or two. Be reasonable.
We respect confidentiality. We know it seems like we ignore or don’t address some incidents. It pains me when I hear parents complain about what we aren’t doing in the wake of a student death or tragedy. It’s not that we don’t want to comment, it’s that it’s not appropriate or we can’t share it with you. We have to respect confidentiality. Navigating this can be extremely difficult in the wake of a tragedy.
Cut us some slack. A typical day could include helping a suicidal kid receive treatment, receiving a phone call that a parent or another close family member of a student has died, getting a report that a student was threatened on social media and having to investigate, helping a student process a recent breakup, talking to a parent about failing grades, or help a grieving child whose lost a loved one. Add to that the transcripts that need signatures, the IEP (Individualized Educatuonal Plan) meetings we are asked to attend, and the letters of recommendations we are asked to write, and our days fly by! May is also testing month, so add proctoring AP and Keystone exams to that mix. We will likely proctor eight to nine three hour tests over 12 school days. Its a lot and we dislike when we can’t see our students or read and return emails as quickly as we’d like. We do our best!
Over the course of 15 years I have worked with over 31 different School Counselors. All were willing to go above and beyond for their students. We stay late, bring work home, and have super-human organizational skills. We love what we do and we LOVE helping young people thrive!!
Have a school counseling question or a topic you’d like me to cover? Comment below!
Thank you for reading!