Looking Forward by Going Back: A School Counselor Educator’s Return to School Counseling (Perspective FROM THE FIELD)

As school counselors and counselor educators, it is imperative to remain knowledgable of trends and changes in school counseling. With the current emphasis on the ASCA National Model[R] (American School Counselor Association, 2005), the transformed role of the school counselor (Education Trust, n.d.), and school counseling program accountability (Green & Keys, 2001; Paisley & McMahon, 2001), the focus on the role of school counselors is more prominent than ever. While school counselors experience the daily events and relationships in a school setting, school counselor educators stay informed about trends or changes in school counseling by reading relevant scholarly literature, attending professional conferences and workshops, and supervising school counselors-in-training in their field experiences in schools. However, counselor educators cannot truly emulate the experience of being a practicing school counselor, despite interaction with or supervision of graduate school counseling students in the field. In the late spring 2004, I was given a unique opportunity to return to the school counseling field. As a counselor educator, I had not been involved in schools as a practitioner for 5 years. I accepted a position to substitute during the maternity leave of the elementary school counselor in the building where I had previously served as a counselor for 8 years (1990-1998). The decision to return to this position was based on two questions: (1) What changes have occurred in elementary school counseling over the 6-year period? And, (2) would my return to school counseling result in insights or observations that might have implications for school counselors and school counselor educators working with school counselors-in-training?

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