Monday, January 21, 2008

Querulous about Counselors

It seems for any for us NYC students going to our counselor is a dread. This is exactly the opposite of the portrait of a counselor our society portrays. A counselor is supposed to be friendly, inviting, and a counselor's office is supposed to actually be an inviting one. But it seems counselors are far from that idealized view and lack the basics of caring for students and guiding us.

In Brooklyn Tech, a school of 4,500+ students, everyone is a number. And the sad reality is this is also true at the guidance counselor's office. Guidance counselors are only concerned with a child's report card and trying to get them into a college or at least graduate so the school record isn't tarnished, even after the college office exists for that purpose. By many students, counselors are seen as an annoyance, constantly hounding them about grades. And this precept ion deters those students who need counselors away from counselors. Counselors are no longer there to help students but the school at maintaining its record.

Guidance counselors have become less involved in helping students with their personal and psychological needs mainly because there are so few counselors. Each counselor in any school is burdened with a large number of students who they cannot give individual attention to so they have to treat the students like report cards. Also, counseling departments are ill funded by the DOE so lack effective methods of counseling. The situation has not changed in decades and this is very alarming.

As young adults, we need all of our needs meet. We need to be intellectually and psychologically guided and developed. Guidance counselors cannot do what they are trained to do, for the most part, because there aren't enough counselors in most schools to handle the number of kids in that school. Counselors have become another source of annoyance in students lives and not a source of comfort and a place to let loose.

1 comment:

Marissa said...

The NYC school system is lacking in many many ways...and you have highlighted a major deficit -- counseling and mental health services. Students need a lot of support especially during the time of adolescence. As you point out most NYC schools provide minimal opportunities for any type of supportive counseling or therapy. In my experience being able to speak with someone who will listen and try to understand your viewpoint is paramount to overcoming obstacles. Too often counselors and therapists within a school system are unable to provide this necessary service and students often shy away from using what services are available out of fear that their parents, teachers, or school administrators will find out what has been discussed.