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School Counselor vs. Guidance Counselor

Guidance Counselor vs School Counselorby Tabitha Panariso, Guest Blogger

 

Tomato, Tom-ah-to

Potato, Pot-ah-to

Let’s not call this thing off.

It may seem silly to get upset over a title. These days though, it’s all in the name.

These days, a ‘guidance counselor’ is a thing of the past.

Recently, I asked several of my Facebook friends to comment on a post regarding a counselor who may have impacted them in a positive way. One of the comments illustrated the perspective many adults these days had of their own ‘guidance counselor’. He “smoked and drank too much coffee and smelled gross. He called me in his office to tell me to NOT cut in the lunch line.”

Counselors’ like Glee’s own Emma illustrate a hand’s off approach, only taking the time to deal with a student’s schedule or handing out awkward brochures. These are the counselors who didn’t collaborate with their fellow educators. These are the counselors who are underutilized, undervalued, and take a reactive stance to situations in their building and school community.

As this week was National School Counseling Week, I felt it was important to address this tragic transgression and to remind you, the teacher, of the incredible and impactful resource that you have close to hand.

Okay, so the coffee part- that’s still true. But rather than an opportunity to take a break. Coffee serves us the energy required to:

  • Check in with kids who are struggling, who are in the RTI process, who just need a little TLC
  • Visit classrooms and teach character education lessons
  • Meet with teachers and parents for 504 plans
  • Meet consistently with small groups of kids about divorce, deployment, friendship skills, and more
  • Triage crisis situations
  • Create and implement school wide programs to create a positive climate
  • Work with individual students on academics, social and emotional, and personal struggles
  • Prepare students for college and career choices.

The point is there is a lot of work to be done. And school counselors want nothing more than to work with teachers and administration to proactively make a positive difference in our children’s lives. But what it takes is a shift in perspective from those around us. Not just in label, but cognitively as well.

So if you don’t do anything this week at all but one thing- do this. Give them the opportunity and the chance to work for you and your kiddos. Let them collaborate with you on a student who has been struggling emotionally and behaviorally. Invite them into your classroom to teach.

We can’t do our job without you. Your support. Your advocacy.

 

About the Author

Tabitha Panariso

 

 

Tabitha is a K-12 certified school counselor, nationally certified counselor, and blogger at  Scrapbook of a School Counselor, where she creates and collects relevant resources for School Counselors. When she isn’t on the internet you can find her in the mountains, drinking a cup of tea, or hanging out with her husband. Connect with her viaTwitter  and become a fan of the Scrapbook of a School Counselor  Facebook  page to follow the exploits of a second year school counselor.


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4 comments
Scott
Scott

Tabitha, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'm wondering what you see as the difference between your role and the school social worker? What you identify as a school counselor appears to have considerable overlap with the roles of a school social worker. Cheers!

Angela
Angela

As a graduate student in a school counseling program, I am happy to see this article! Before beginning my program, I made the mistake of saying guidance counselor on a regular basis; now, when I hear the term, I cringe a lot on the inside and pray that cringe doesn't show on the outside! Many of the counselors in my district have school counselor printed on their name tags and I am glad to see this but I still hear the term guidance counselor more often than school counselor. I do my part as often as I can, without being confrontational or obsessive over the title, to use the term school counselor and explain why that is the current, up-to-date title. Thanks for writing this!

Barbara Gruener
Barbara Gruener

Tabitha, once again you are spot on! I appreciate your honest approach and admire your willingness to spotlight that elephant in the room and your courage to challenge it (and even intervene on our behalf if needed). What an awesome advocate for our profession you are. I am thankful to call you a colleague ... and a friend!

bmasura
bmasura

@Angela At the school I am interning at they still use the term guidance counselor.  I cringed at first but sadly I am now used to it.  Now my teacher keeps having to tell me it is not a guidance counselor even though this is what they still call themselves.  As an intern I can't really tell them they are wrong but what else can I do?  I'm wrong in my classes if I say I'm a guidance counselor intern here but wrong here if I say I'm a school counselor intern.  I am still trying to learn the difference between a social worker and a school counselor because we are taught in school how to do all the therapy yet in all the schools it is the social workers who do the counseling and groups.  I wish that was us.