Being a school counselor isn’t easy. This job urges you to tackle students that are difficult and can cause trouble, although it is a common belief that the student counselors aren’t well educated and they are there for scheduling classes and resolving disciplinary issues. However, the fact is, they are certified therapeutics who are trained to tackle tricky situations and troubled individuals.
“The reality is, school counselors and psychologists are saving thousands of troubled kids every day,” said Shane Jimerson, a professor in the Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology Department at UC Santa Barbara who specializes in school crisis and trauma. “But the demand is increasing exponentially and it’s harder and harder to keep up.”
If I were having problems during my high school, I would have looked for a therapist near me instantly to resolved the issue like a grown-up. But that’s just me; kids find it difficult to admit that they need help. They are often scared of being labeled and judged by their peers or family in some cases. Students come from different backgrounds; some are homeless while others are battling depression and anxiety disorders. “I see two major issues,” says Rob Benner, a Bridgeport, Conn., school psychologist with nearly 30 years’ experience. “One is testing anxiety, and the other is anxiety over social media.” It is essential that you understand their situation by establishing a bond.
Being a student counselor it is crucial that you understand the sensitivity of this matter. Troubled students aren’t being difficult because they enjoy it; there are a number of factors adding to their behaviors. You need to be sympathetic towards them and listen to them keenly in order to understand their situation better. “If you’re trying to figure out if a teen is depressed, the thing to look for is a change of behavior or mood,” says Lori Hilt, Ph.D. Don’t speculate on the basis of you have heard or what’s obvious. A student might look fine but you can never be certain of their feelings unless they start talking.
If you are a student counselor and you find it difficult to manage troubled students or you don’t know where to start then read the following list. The following are a few tips that can help you handle the most difficult students in the most subtle way.
- The Academic Support
Students often misbehave in class and do things that don’t really make sense to you. Their grades start falling immensely and their behavior changes. They are sometimes embarrassed to admit that they need help, especially with academics. They would rather act out and fail than ask someone for help. If you find a troubled case it is important that you check their academic records and find out their strengths and weaknesses. Place them in courses that you think will bring the best out of them. Sit with them to discuss future possibilities, hinting about Ivy League school placements can also motivate them.
- Parent Student Combined Counselling
To find out the root cause of the student’s behavior, it is suggested that you carry out a combined session for both the parents and children. This will give you an idea about the kind of relationship they have with their parents. A small meeting with the parents and students will help you identify if there is something wrong with the family structure.
- The Cause
Identifying the cause of their behavior is essential for counseling. You cannot counsel someone about opening up whereas they are depressed. Some students may seem shy but in reality, they might be depressed. If you feel that the student might hurt themself then you must immediately inform the guardians and school authorities.
- One on One Counselling
It is essential that you schedule individual sessions with the students to understand them better. Ask about their routines, their likes and dislikes to establish a common ground. Get them to register for programs that you think might be helpful. While it is impossible to make friends for your students, you can always suggest them to sit with specific students. Visit them during their classes and ask teachers about their progress. You should be able to understand if the student is going through something internally or is it just a phase. In either case, it is your duty to guide them and encourage them to be better.
If you are doing your job with complete honesty and enthusiasm, you will see clear results. Your counseling will help improve the behavior of the student.