School counselors will tell you that they often have very little time to meet with and talk to students. It isn’t that there are fewer kids and reasons for them to meet. The opposite is probably true. Many counselors have over 300 students who they are responsible for. A big part of the problem for counselors is that they have state and federal paperwork to complete which is mandated. Of course, federal funding is not allocated to schools to budget for more counselors. All of this must be done at the local level. School boards and administrators must budget the needed professionals into their schools.
The Need to Restructure Job Tasks
The tasks associated with being a school counselor have changed a lot over the years. Traditionally, school counselors would focus their attention on working with their student. This would include watching over their academic, social, and emotional development. This would be to make sure they have career path goals while helping them to be ready for their next step.
Over the last decade or more, a lot of paperwork has been given to school counselors. Instead of spending most of their days working with students, much of their day has been filled with clerical type work. This may be something that they could do if their student caseload was not overloaded. This has meant not being able to meet with a student in need on the day they ask.
Ways to Make a Change
School counselors must work together to make it clear to administrators and school boards that they need more time with students. To be truly effective at their job and give each child the time they deserve and need many things need to change. Additional counselors must be hired to ease the student load per person. In addition to this, they must agree to give others the paperwork which counselors have added to their workload. While some may be related to their traditional tasks, much could be done by others. These people could be interns or hired to do specific clerical work.
In addition to this, groups of counselors, students, and parents need to meet with those at the state level. Not only should they write and go to see those at the State Education Departments, there are local level politicians who may be able to help. Members of the State Assembly who work on education committees should be approached. They have the ability to work on new legislation that puts caps on the number of students that an individual counselor may have in a given year
How does your school help school counselors to make sure they have enough time in the day to meet with students? Please share ways which your district is working on restructuring their jobs to focus on this aspect of their work.