Do Counselors Really Work?
February 25, 2017
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By: Blanca Praxedis
Counselors who work at Wheat Ridge High School are Jillian Benson, Lisa Berens, Heather Henson, Amanda Olenberger.
They also have a social worker’s help, Pamela Grace Okeke, and they also count with the help of secretaries, Melanie Siedel and Kathy Cummings who are there to answer questions and help students as much as they possibly can. Some students don’t realize what they do throughout the day and claim “they sit on their computers all day”.
Though students think counselors don’t do anything at all, the reality is different. Their days are filled with loads of work they need to get done before going home. A counselor’s day begins with students asking questions early in the morning, although this doesn’t occur every single day. When a student is newly enrolled in the school they are immediately helped with schedule changes. However, their day doesn’t stop there.
Throughout the day counselors meet with students individually, whether it’s to help with family problems, high school drama, or something as simple as checking grades. They have different ways of meeting with students. Some days it’s individually while on others there are class meetings to inform students of things going on, that will benefit them in the long run.
Individual meetings consist of checking grades, PSATs, ACTs, and future plans for after high school. Meetings with junior and seniors include recommendation of colleges and talks about what career one would like to be engaged in. Not only that but they also motivate students to start looking into colleges and applications for scholarships, which is very exciting
Lower classmen meeting consist of helping students stay on track and for those who are, get motivated to keep on doing well, however, those who are falling behind or having trouble get, calls home and counselor-parent conversations start. Things like “What can we do to help this student pass?” are discussed. In general, these calls are to notify parents of their child’s situation and most importantly to help students that are falling behind. These calls keep parents up to date as well as students.
Some “fun” moments counselors have is when they have unexpected students come in with personal crisis because they “never know when someone is going to show up with who knows what,” Henson says.
Counselors also assist in enrolling students into the school. They work with helping students and families with services, such as food, transportation, and schedule making.
Counseling isn’t just high school related work. It also consists of going to middle schools and getting 8th graders ready for high school. Here middle schoolers get their classes picked and motivated for high school, because most of them have the wrong idea of high school. Students who are currently attending Wheat Ridge School get invited as guest speakers in order to tell middle schoolers what being in high school is like.
They also have meetings with parents which are called “coffee with the counselors” in order to inform them about important events, in this past meeting, tips for colleges were discussed. Not only do they help parents but they also motivate students, specifically seniors, to start applying for colleges and scholarships, that they could potentially be eligible for. These meetings don’t only happen in groups but they also happen individually with parents and students who are having trouble in school and they need to be helped. They also have meetings that include principles, parents, student, and counselor, but this rarely happens and it’s to discuss a severe problem involving the student.
School counselors don’t just deal with meeting with students, they also have paperwork they have to fill out. It’s not only school for them, they too have activities outside of the building they have to attend. Some which include meetings with the community, committees, and presentations for principles.
They sometimes work with students who are out of school and not graduated.These students are helped with trying to get their diplomas or a GED. But their work doesn’t stop there. While students and teachers are out enjoying summer, counselors are stuck in school for a couple of days after. As a matter a fact counselors have to stay in school more days than teachers and everyone else in the staff.
A couple of days after school is over they don’t all go on vacations. Some attend summer activities which include touring colleges and attending summer institutes. College touring is beneficial to some counselors. Henson for example says that she can, “Educate myself more on college topics”.
When a new school year starts it’s the same cycle all over again, coming in 10 days earlier than everyone else because they find it helpful to have more time to get ready for a new year. That’s where emails from students start coming in, concerning their schedules. It’s not only students but also parents who are concerned about schedules and their students in general. These ten days are beneficial because that way “it’s good for freshmen planning” says Henson. But they way they use their time is different and dependent of each counselor.
Although we think counselors don’t have a life out of school, they do. Before becoming a counselor, they had other jobs that had nothing to do with what they are currently doing. Some worked in hospitals, and teacher assisting. However their occupations before counseling made big impacts in their lives. Before becoming a counselor they had internships which in most cases aren’t paid. That means they had to work with no pay, go to school and on top have another job to earn money.
Each school has different organizations with their counselor. Here at Wheat Ridge we have the liberty to go into a counselor’s office whenever we would like where at other schools you need to have appointments with counselors which could have some disadvantages. We should be thankful we don’t have that restriction. We as students don’t see what counselors do to help us get through high school. We see them sitting on their computer but we as teenagers are quickly to judge without first asking them or walking in their shoes for a day.
Counselors love their job and although we are a drag they are willing to do it because they want to, “contribute to the society,” says Henson. Thank you to all the counselors who help at Wheat Ridge High School and who are helping us stay on track.