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Career Story: Public High School Guidance Counselor

Public High School Guidance Counselor

Job Title: School Counselor

Type of Company: I work in a small high school half way between Worcester and Boston.

Education: BS, Education •• M. Ed., Counseling

Previous Experience: I have worked as a teacher, adjustment counselor and school counselor.

Job Tasks: As a school counselor, I teach classes in developmental guidance and meet with students on a regular basis. The focus of our classroom work varies according to grade level. Freshmen classes help students become oriented to the high school and encourage them to get involved in the total high school program. We promote self-knowledge, develop coping strategies for academic and social situations, work to understand emotions, set goals, and improve study skills that match learning styles.

During the sophomore year, the emphasis is on increasing self-awareness and exploring career interests. I guide students through an interactive website to explore career choices and the world of work. During individual meetings, I discuss career resources, paths, and opportunities. Juniors meet during the third quarter in small classes with counselors to begin post-secondary school and career planning. Individually, we work closely with students in assessing strengths, skills, and interests. The seminars help students become familiar with college internet sites, college search options, and other college resources that are available in the Counseling Center. Other topics that are covered include college essays, resume writing, admissions test preparation, enrichment opportunities, and NCAA eligibility. The focus senior year is on finalizing post-high school plans. We work on issues of stress management, decision-making, and the transition to college/career. Counselors help students meet graduation requirements and pay attention to the details and deadlines related to their plans after graduation. I provide many services to students and parents on a needs or self-referral basis.

Some of my responsibilities include educational and career planning and counseling, personal counseling, review and modification of students' schedules, group counseling, and post-graduation preparation. I also help students develop decision-making and problem-solving skills, make referrals to community resources, and organize student/teacher/parent/counselor conferences when necessary. Crisis counseling is also part of my job, along with participating in several school committees like Crisis Management, Community-based Justice, Scholarship, Awards, and Leadership opportunities.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working with a wide variety of students. I love helping people in a real, tangible way. Every day is different and every student is different so there is never a dull moment. This job combines my love of teaching and my desire to have a positive impact on the lives of young people.

Job Tips: I think it's an advantage to be a teacher before you become a guidance counselor because you have a better understanding of a teacher's viewpoint. I think you need to be patient, be a good listener, and have a sense of humor. Working with youngsters to make sure you like this age group is really important before you decide to make it a career.

Additional Thoughts: I think it's important to know yourself and make sure your personality fits this career. Working in a school system has been a perfect match for me because I love kids and I love summers off.

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