The idea of counselling students in their teens and on the brink of a bright future can be both intimidating and exciting. It definitely makes you swell with pride and feel entirely responsible at the same time!
Yes, the major responsibilities of a college counsellor include social/ emotional counselling, academic advising and students scheduling, college counselling, hosting college visits, sending of documents to institutions, writing recommendations. PHEW!! But, the perspective of a new counsellor who has an ‘elementary’ approach seems quite fresh.
The trick is to carry the love from your elementary school to high school! We need to begin by scratching the surface and counsel from the heart.
Career counselling is a collaborative effort. It is team work by the entire school. After all the IB philosophy is to create compassionate and lifelong learners.
Some tips that may encourage the whole school to get on board.
- Organize writing workshops for students right from the PYP
- Arrange a book club for parents where they may discuss issues like- How to talk to kids? How to manage stress? How to build effective life skills?
- Plan a full week trip as a bonding session with the students from grade 9, 10, 11, 12 with activities such as trekking, mountain climbing among others.
- Letting go sessions for parent /student dependency.
- Leverage the parent body. Presenters talk about careers, even for 5 minutes.
- Develop informal communication with students.
- Develop research skills from the PYP stage itself as the majority of the research for their choice of universities has to be done by the students
- Integrate essay writing in the English class as it’s an important pre-requisite for the college applications.
- Be a sounding board for your students. Help them deal with peer pressure and support the outliers.
- Teachers should work hand-in-hand with the counsellor as they help make subject choices and write the letter of recommendation for the student.
- Create safe spaces for difficult conversations. Constantly remind students to be mindful of their peers and be kind to one another,