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Final Project: The Role of a Professional School Counselor
Books, television, and movies are full of stories revealing the day-to-day realities of various professions. These stories provide a behind-the-scenes look at the often unknown stress, joy, and effort involved in being a doctor, a law enforcement agent, or even a chef. What do you think the day-to-day life of a professional school counselor is like? What constitutes a typical day for a school counselor, or is there no such thing? For the Final Project in this course, you uncover the hidden realities of the daily life of a professional school counselor.
The Final Project requires you to interview (in person) a licensed or certified school counselor who works with the age group that interests you. For example, if you are interested in working as an elementary counselor, interview a school counselor at this level. You then apply the information from this course, as well as in an interview you conduct, to your understanding of what it means to be a professional school counselor.
Please note that it is not acceptable to interview a school social worker, a school psychologist, a school-based mental health counselor, or any other mental health provider for this Assignment.
Although the Final Project includes interview material, this is not the only component of this Assignment. Please make sure to review the full project description below.
The Final Project is a 7- to 10-page paper that consists of a summation of an interview, a story, and a reflection.
Overview of Final Project Components
Component I: Narrative Summation of Interview
Your summation should be presented as a narrative rather than a list of questions and answers. It is recommended that you audiotape the interview so that you can review it as you complete the Final Project.
For the interview, use the following questions. Several questions relate to topics covered in this course in order for you to gain an understanding of how the course topics apply to the life of a school counselor. If a question is related to a weekly topic, the week number is in parentheses after the question.
During the interview you may add additional questions of your own that are prompted by the conversation:
1. When someone asks you how being a school counselor is different from being a mental health counselor, a social worker, or a school psychologist, what do you tell that person? (Week 1)
2. Please explain what counseling credential you have (e.g., license or certificate) and what the qualifications are for this in your state. What examinations, if any, are required (e.g., Praxis)?
3. Please describe what a typical day looks like for you as you do your job? (Week 1)
4. What ethical and legal issues do you have to keep in mind each day? (Week 5)
5. How does understanding and respecting multiculturalism help you as a school counselor? (Week 4)
6. How do you use assessments to help you with your work as a school counselor? (Week 9)
7. How do you partner with a student's family and other stakeholder when addressing a student's issue? (Week 6)
8. Talk about your experiences with referring students to outside mental health counseling. Do you have a protocol to follow? (Week 7)
9. Does your school have a crisis plan for use in case of an emergency? Talk about a time when you had to respond to a critical situation in your school or district on either an individual basis (e.g., death of a student or a student's family member, a house fire, etc.) or on a larger basis (e.g., community crisis or natural disaster). (Week 8)
10. What is the role of accountability for a school counselor? In what ways are you accountable and how do you address that accountability? (Week 9)
11. How have you engaged in advocacy (for students or for the profession)? If so, what did that involve and how did it go? (Week 6)
12. What do you do to maintain self-care and wellness? (Week 10)
13. What is your personal view about the future of the school counseling profession? (Week 11)
14. What are the most significant personal development issues you face as a school counselor? How have you addressed personal and professional growth and development?
Component II: A Day in the Life of a Professional School Counselor
Using the information from the interview, the course Learning Resources, and course assignments, create the story of a day in the life of the school counselor you interviewed. Embed in your story the significant information from both the course and the interview. Be specific, use examples, and include what you believe to be the most significant topics, even if they might not come up in a typical day.
The purpose of this project component is for you to demonstrate your understanding of what day-to-day life is like for a school counselor, related to and referencing the material in the course as well as information gleaned elsewhere. It also is to demonstrate how a counselor might address/handle issues and/or situations that are the most important and/or challenging.
Component III: Reflection
In this section you reflect on what you have learned in both the interview and the course regarding a balanced approach to the professional duties and responsibilities of a school counselor and about self-care. Describe how you see your future role as a school counselor. In your reflection, respond to the questions below. Your reflection should be presented as a narrative rather than a listing of questions and answers.
1. What did you learn from the interview that you did not learn in the course?
2. What, if anything, did you learn from the interview that contrasted with what you learned in the course?
3. What do you understand better from the course as a result of doing the interview?
4. What came to life in the interview so that the information you gained in the course is more meaningful and relevant now?
5. What do you anticipate the impact of being a school counselor may be on who you are personally?