I interviewed Mr. Lou, who is a school counselor, and collected the following information. On the director’s job site, Mr. Lou implements counseling programs and integrates them with the school curriculum. He is also responsible for hiring and firing school counselors, supervising their works, and conducting performance appraisals on their progress. When being hired, the directors undergo an interview process with some of the following questions. Mr. Lou was asked to share his mentorship experience and its outcome. He was also asked to explain his approach to counseling and how to relate with counselors to ensure social and behavioral competency. The question of how to implement the counseling programs also came up during the interview.
Novice counselors may need some tips to start up their practice. Some tips include making the client a priority, staying confident, and asking for clarification about uncertain matters. Furthermore, it is critical to structure the counseling sessions, formulating questions well, and staying off the coddling or pushy line of communication (Jenkins, 2017). Mr. Lou provided the following strength and interest interview questions for the counselors. He asks what interested the counselors to pursue the career, their asset, and how experience practice informs their role as school counselors. Lastly, the interviewee seeks to know about successful cases as handled by counselors.
Good communication skill is one of the elements counseling directors look for in a good counselor. Other things include friendliness, empathy, cultural competency, and the act of knowing when to react (Jenkins, 2017). Mr. Lou continued that in case of a student crisis, the school counselor should inform the director immediately, keep the rest of the student calm, communicate with the involved student, and in dangerous cases, call the police. The next steps involved crisis management which is set according to the school. School counselors could get fired or deemed bad if they shame or insult students, make their clients blame others, being insensitive, fail to listen, or impose religious teachings on students, among other things. Upon request to describe himself as a leader, Mr. Lou said he is a listener, empathetic, relationship builder, flexible, and can exercise authority.
The counseling director works with the principal to implement the student wellness programs offered by the counseling offices. He communicates with the principal to direct and update on students’ emotional requirements. A good leader holds a clear vision, leads the team towards the set goals, is humble, honest, and courageous. As a director, Mr. Lou faces challenges like failure to achieve implementation plans, stress or burnouts, low salary, low recognition of counseling work. Furthermore, IEP, SOL, or 504 affect him as a counselor by demanding him to be an interventionist, problem solver, collaborator, and effective communicator (Jenkins, 2017). However, the interviewee and his counselors would like to improve on the burnout aspect. He will require to plan alongside his team on how to reduce their workloads, especially in the afternoons as they become so tired by the evening.
Dealing with an angry parent requires the use of a calm voice and providing a reason to listen. Other tactics include the use of positive body language, validating their concerns, and letting them vent. Finally, Mr. Lou affirmed that as a director, he is not given a budget to purchase. Instead, he is involved in the planning of the school budget alongside other school directors. Purchases are eventually made by the school purchasing personnel.
Jenkins, P. (2017). Professional practice in counselling and psychotherapy: Ethics and the law. SAGE.