The role of the school counselor in the educational system is increasingly important. Although the availability of this figure depends on the type of institution, since a public center is not the same as a private center. While, in many autonomous communities, public education, during the infant and primary stage, or offers the figure of counselor depending on the needs of the school (usually once a week), in private school the figure of the counselor he usually stays in the center continuously, like any other teacher.
This is due to the fact that in the public education system, the guidance service is offered through the Early Attention Teams (for children between 0 and 5 years old) and the Educational and Psychopedagogical Guidance Teams (in charge of the primary stage) that attend to a sector or area and are made up of a multidisciplinary team, in which, in addition to participating, the school counselor also has physiotherapists, social workers or speech therapists . On the other hand, the private educational system, in addition to having these teams, whose visits to the center are usually monthly, there is the possibility of hiring a counselor to remain in the center continuously.
However, if we talk about the stage of secondary education, the figure of counselor remains daily in the centers, regardless of whether the center is public or private, since there is a counseling department enabled for this figure to exercise its functions and attend to the needs educational activities of students, families and teachers every day.
The school counselor can be a psychologist, a pedagogue or a psychopedagogue . Although the training base is not the same for any of them, since they have studied different careers and the knowledge they have acquired during their training are not the same, these professionals have in common the completion of the Master’s Degree in Teacher Training specialized in Guidance, which enables them to practice in an orientation service.
WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF THE COUNSELOR IN SCHOOLS?
Undoubtedly, the availability of this figure must be taken into account in each autonomous community and in each center. Now we expose the main functions that a school counselor has, regardless of the center in which they work:
1. Identify the educational needs of the students: the counselor is in charge of carrying out the psycho-pedagogical evaluation of those students who need it. Once completed, a series of guidelines and adaptations are put in place depending on the needs that are detected. In these adaptations, not only the work of the counselor is involved, but also that of the group of teachers who have direct contact with the students.
2. Psycho-pedagogical counseling: provide tools to the teaching staff and management team to intervene directly with the students. Ultimately, the job of the counselor in these cases is to look for psychological and pedagogical resources, criteria and guidelines to be implemented by teachers.
3. Advice to families: the counselor must show availability and accessibility to parents whenever they need it, since one of the tasks is to support and advise those families who have children in school with learning problems, behavior problems, etc. ., provided that the difficulties that appear are educational.
4. Coordination with external agents or resources: another of the counselor’s tasks is to maintain contact with other resources in the locality or autonomous community, such as pediatricians, clinical psychologists, social services, etc., to be able to refer those students who thus need it at any time during their schooling.
5. Vocational guidance: during the secondary education stage, the counselor must collaborate with the students in order to advise them on the future work or academic that they want to pursue. In these cases, decision-making is worked on and information is provided on the options available to students to continue with their studies.
WHEN TO GO TO THE SCHOOL COUNSELOR?
School counselors are becoming a key figure in schools. Although the reality is that many families do not know what their work is and what they do in schools or institutes.
When tutors or parents detect any difficulty in a student, they should immediately contact the counselor, since he has tools and resources to alleviate any need, more focused on the educational field.
The cases that occur the most within educational centers are learning problems , such as dyslexia , dysgraphia, etc., these are children who do not reach the curricular objectives. Sometimes, there are also cases of children with high capacities , who need an educational adaptation based on their needs.
However, we should not focus only on these. The behavioral problems , which are becoming more common, where the disruption in the classroom, substance abuse, lack classes, bullying, etc., are problems that must be reported are included equipment guidance, so that it acts accordingly.
Another example, of an emotional nature, is usually the separation or divorce of the parents . Many young people in this situation tend to suffer many consequences and can worsen their academic performance. It is important to notify the educational center about the situation that the family is going through, and if it is necessary to go to the counselor so that he can offer a recommendation or provide some external resource to the center.
Parents often have many doubts regarding the education of their children, doubts such as “Do you have a good performance in class?”, “Do you have problems with a classmate or teacher?”, “Do you show difficulties in continuing classes? “, etc. Therefore, in the event of any doubt or difficulty that arises in the family environment, it is advisable to go to the counselor so that he can advise as much as possible.
Ultimately, it is essential that parents and the guidance team maintain direct communication , especially in the most complicated cases. The responsibility for the education of minors does not only correspond to the educational center and its members, but also to the parents who are the ones who establish norms and values from when the children are small. The family involvementin the external education of children it is essential so that in the event of any difficulty or problem, intervention can be made as soon as possible. Therefore, from this space, parents are encouraged to always have information about the school or institute their children attend, the educational plans that are carried out, the activities and the functions of those figures that are less known to the family. , and it is also important that children perceive this implication.