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Challenges you may encounter as a teacher counselor


Date Posted: 11/23/2012 3:42:11 AM

Posted By: fredrick mutua  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 196

Challenges encountered when doubling a role as a teacher and a counselor in a school

Dual roles are one challenge encountered by a teacher counselor I that in most cases, school/colleges counselors are also teachers in the same school. This makes it inevitable for the counselor to meet clients in class as students. The counselor should therefore be careful to separate such roles which can create conflict of interests. The counselor should get clients' consent if reference of contact in counseling has to be made in the class lesson and the reversal is true. The duties of coordinating and counseling can be overwhelming.

Lack of support of counselor by colleagues and sometimes management especially for supervision and allocation of work load. Sometimes no motivation is given in form of extra pay or time. Colleagues may also develop negative attitude towards counseling hence affecting the counseling process.

Lack of adequate facilities e.g. furniture necessary for records and the counseling space as well with necessary privacy and comfort. There should be a counseling room which should provide privacy, comfort, security and reasonably good furniture; if possible the room should be sound proof to guarantee privacy of information. The set-up of counseling room should be different from that of the classroom or teachers offices. A security locked side board can be part of the furniture for keeping the client's case records

Lack of professional preparedness is another challenge facing a teacher counselor. The counselor lacks guidance and counseling skills leading to a misunderstanding between the counselor and the counseled.

A teacher counselor has a problem of referral system where the school counselor needs to design an appointment system which does not expose clients to the rest of the students. Teachers can make referrals in a discreet way. Counselors can also identify referrals also students to other agencies or

professionals for more specialized help. Where parents need to be involved the administration should support the teacher and contact the parent.

Time factor is another challenge a teacher counselor faces. If possible students should avoid attending counseling sessions during class lessons time to prevent exposure through permission slip or possible truancy of students especially in schools. It is recommended that a school counselor does not spent more than 20 hours per week in one on one counseling sessions. The time spent with each depends on nature of issue and time table of the school.

Informed consent is another challenge where students at all levels have the right to refuse or discontinue counseling sessions when referred. The counselor has to ensure that students are jot forced in to counseling based on the principle of Autonomy. However, where mandatory counseling is required, the counselor must get consent of the student to engage in a counseling session. A student should not be sent for counseling as a way of disciplinary measure. Instead all students' disciplinary cases should be dealt with separately. Follow ups in counseling can be done after disciplinary measures have been implemented. Counseling is not an alternative of disciplinary, it is for preventive purpose.

A teacher counselor can also face another challenge due to work load whereby he/she is not given time for evaluation and accountability. The counselor should keep records of clients to form the base of report to the management such reports may include, number of students seen in counseling by the year of study, gender and category of presenting problems within a given time frame. Such information is useful in highlighting areas of concern and to influence institution policy (e.g.) if too many sex disorder cases are reported, a new rule may be added to the institution rules and guidelines. Such information also influences other forms of guidance (e.g.) public lectures, seminars for parents and teachers etc.

Details of individual client should not be disclosed but is needed; the student should be informed and possibly give informed consent for such disclosures. The counselor should keep confidentiality up to its limits.

Demand by institutions and high expectations is another challenge whereby sometimes management expects too much from counselors and set unrealistic goals e.g. a counselor is expected to detect and prevail all forms of violence, drug abuse etc. in a learning institution and this becomes a very big challenge to the teacher counselor.

Stigmatization of counseling by students especially due to association of counseling with disciplinary problems becomes a challenge. Clients are inaccessible due to ignorance, fear and intimidation. Some cases may be too complicated to handle and therefore more experienced counselors are needed to handle such cases, for example suicidal issues, gay issues and even drug abuse cases may need more experienced counselors.

Culture is another challenge whereby due to culture differences from one community to another a teacher counselor needs to understand almost every community's way of life so that he or she can be able to handle everybody comfortably despite his or her cultural background.

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