Mentors As Accidental Counsellors – Equipping Them Through Teachers’ Professional Development
In the professional world, employees must learn to separate their personal lives from their work. And while their co-workers and their managers may offer a sympathetic pat on the back, when it comes to performing their assigned tasks, their personal problems should not get in the way. The same cannot be said when it comes to students. While students are enrolled in schools to learn, they are not equipped with the tools to effectively separate their school life from their personal troubles. This may manifest in a marked deviation from their usual performance in school or even behavioural problems.
Although the main task of teachers is to pass on their knowledge to their students, they are at a unique position to notice any personal problems that afflict their students which often manifest themselves in the form of poor academic performance. There is a variety of teachers’ professional development programmes available but very few are designed to help teachers assume the role of accidental counsellors.
Just like adults who are pressured in their professional lives, students also experience a high amount of pressure.
One reason for this is that modern society has become fixated with achievement rather than the learning process.
In turn, some students buckle to the pressure or find themselves lost.
The school is also a unique eco-system, each student with his or her unique trait that will allow him or her to fit in and find acceptance from peers. In an ideal world, such unique traits should be accepted and embraced. However, such is not the case, resulting sometimes in bullying.
There are also students who are transplanted from one home to another. And while adults find that they need some time to adjust to another environment, such is doubly hard for kids who are uprooted from the place they grew up in and transferred to a new place that is alien to them.
Finally, there are children who suffer from mental health problems and disorders which can range from somatic complaints to attention problems to aggressive behaviour. Unfortunately, not every kid who suffers from such gets professional help.
Like it or not, teachers assist parents in upbringing children. With their unique position in the school, they are often the first ones to notice the problems regarding their pupils. Also, they are in such a position that children may find them trustworthy and as such, they turn to them for advice. This makes them accidental counsellors because although they are not trained to do counselling work, they are placed in a position wherein they cannot simply ignore the troubles that ail students. With the right training, teachers and other school personnel can provide a support system that will enable kids to successfully manage whatever it is that troubles them.