Do you want to become a school counselor? Counseling young people in their school years is rewarding. You have multiple chances to point them in the right direction, especially in their career choices and other critical life decisions. Students experience many changes as they transition from teenager to adulthood. You have a chance to guide them through such changes. However, you must be prepared to handle hundreds of students and multiple questions within a short period. You must attain the relevant academic qualifications and skills to handle to demands of the profession. Here are some of the qualities that every school counselor should possess:
1. Listening Skills
You will spend much of your day listening to students, parents, and your colleagues. A good counselor receives and processes information before giving any advice. It is tempting to summarize a story as soon as a student starts sharing. You can almost fill in the gaps and tell how the story will end after listening to many experiences. However, sometimes all people need is for someone to listen and not necessarily offer a solution.
2. Open and Friendly
Students tend to trust their counselor more than their parents and peers. However, they will only open up to you if you are friendly and warm. You have to make them feel comfortable and safe enough to share the most intimate details of their lives with you. Learn how to greet people with a warm handshake and a smile as you prepare for your dream profession. A good counselor is open to diverse personalities and temperaments.
3. Good Communication Skills
Your main responsibility as a counselor at school is to listen and offer sound advice. You need good communication skills to convey ideas and opinions to students. Remember that you will be speaking to hundreds of students from different cultural and social backgrounds. Spending time with young people in and out of school will help you understand their needs and ways of communicating.
4. Excellent Evaluation Skills
One of your duties will be administering tests to students and assess their performance. You need good evaluation skills to determine the learning abilities and skills of each student. You need to see beyond the test scores and identify factors that could have influenced the students’ performance. In addition, you need evaluation skills to understand the students’ thought processes and emotions. Some people have difficulties expressing their true feelings and emotions. You can enhance your evaluation skills and other skills through school counseling programs online.
Students need a friendly and approachable counselor. However, some situations require you to be authoritative. Some deviant students may be offensive to you during the counseling sessions. You will also encounter some students engaging in harmful behavior such as drug abuse or crime. You need to be professional and authoritative when handling such students. A professional counselor can evaluate different situations and determine when to be friendly and when to be authoritative.
You can build a rewarding career as a school counselor by attaining the relevant academic qualifications. However, you need the skills and abilities outlined above to be effective in your profession. You will acquire and perfect some of the skills on the job.