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Career Story: Guidance Counselor In A Suburban Middle School

Guidance Counselor In A Suburban Middle School

Job Title: Guidance Counselor

Type of Company: I work for a school district in the suburbs of Boston.

Education: M. Ed., Education, Certified in Guidance K - 8, Cambridge College (Cambridge, MA)

Previous Experience: I worked as a camp counselor while I was in high school and college. I also worked in an after-school program throughout my years in college.

Job Tasks: With the challenges presented by the middle school years, my goals as a guidance counselor are to help students become more responsible and independent; assist them in developing effective communication skills; maximize their academic success; facilitate the transition to high school; and promote career awareness.

To meet these objectives, I visit classrooms and organize small group and whole-class discussions and lessons; I provide individual counseling and work closely with teachers to foster academic growth.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I love the interaction with children, especially when I feel I've made a difference, no matter how small. I love the variety of daily challenges; I never quite know what a new day will bring.

The worst part of the job is mediating problems between parents and teachers. It can also be upsetting to hear some of the personal problems that a student or family is dealing with. I try not to bring that home with me, but sometimes I do.

Job Tips: Don't try to solve every child's problems in one fell swoop, especially problems that are the result of lifetimes of bad situations. Sometimes just being a supportive listener is the best thing that you can do for someone. Being there for someone doesn't mean just giving advice. A student's needs always come first. Be proactive instead of reactive to problems.

Additional Thoughts: You must be a "people person." Being able to relate to children and being a person that children can relate to is important. Some people just have it naturally; some have to work at it.

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