Do you ever feel as though you are put in situations that are not related to your job? I am sure we all have at some point. Even before I became a school counselor, there were assignments or tasks given to me that were not specific to my job title. That never meant I was not willing to offer a helping hand or do those jobs. Sometimes we do tasks that are not specific to our titles, but we are part of a community of educators that know the importance of every job.
The importance of getting the job done.
The importance of the greater picture.
Currently school counselors in Texas see their jobs and roles changing. House Bill 5 has brought about several new changes and implications that impact school counselors considerably. The Dallas Morning News stated, “When the state Legislature upended high school graduation requirements this year, guidance counselors were put on the front line of education reform with unprecedented new legal responsibilities.” For starters, counselors must meet with every child and parent regarding their graduation program and plan, which any educated person can quickly see the hours this demands. Now, let me state this, as a school counselor it is my job to help students and families plan for their future, so I am more than willing to take on this job. This is part of the reason I became a school counselor.
However, after several meetings with other colleagues in the counseling profession, the new stipulations have brought on challenges. For starters, the time school counselors spend on other tasks is not changing. State Legislatures and bill makers certainly did not eradicate or diminish any of our previous responsibilities. Counselors will still be in charge of the many other tasks that already occupied their time, plus the new task of “Graduation Plans 101.”
So, the real question we must resolve is: are the other tasks related to their job title?
I believe we must advocate for ourselves. Nevertheless, there is also a fine line between a helping hand and requirements. Meeting with every student and parent one-on-one was once an end of year objective and desire, but now it is a legal requirement. I think school counselors must advocate by defining who they are and what their job is, as defined by the ASCA National Model. With every new task, administrative support is key to any successful program. So, I challenge school counselors to take a step back and see what tasks they currently employ that are not outlined by the ASCA National Model. If they are not outlined, are these tasks necessities to helping student growth though? Would it hinder your students if a certain task was diminished? Always look at the bigger picture. Remember why you became a school counselor.
I believe Texas School Counselors will rise to the challenge of their new responsibilities and the way they view their position.