Providing guidance and counselling for students is never easy. Your skills, training and academic background will never guarantee favourable results, even if you have the more sincere intention to help. This is because every “counsellee” requires a special approach to address his or her problems and needs.
As a former guidance counsellor, I have had to lead various group sessions meant to develop the students’ self-concept, self-awareness, coping skills and life strategies. I also needed to help not only the students but their parents as well. As a result, I often found myself looking for more information on parenting, effective communication and other family-related issues.
One very helpful resource is the Guidance Channel Online. This website offers a wide variety of information regarding the usual conflicts and dilemmas encountered by teenagers in everyday life. It is packed with tips, preventive information, and the latest research and programmes which can be applied to local school settings.
One topic that caught my attention is Teen Anxiety. I have often encountered students complaining about how anxious they get over an upcoming examination. While they try their best to prepare for the exam, they suffer mental blocks when the actual test begins. As a result, they end up feeling frustrated and hopeless because they don’t get favourable results even if they feel they have prepared well enough.
Useful information on how to battle anxiety is featured in the Guidance Channel website. The piece entitled Anxiety Tips for Teens is especially worth reading. The tips provided are realistic, achievable and encourage students to express their feelings to an adult, teacher, counsellor or any professional that can help them.
However, the examples in the website are quite clinical in nature. Perhaps it would have been more helpful if a wider range of teen anxiety experiences was discussed, like test anxiety, the fear of participating in class, stage fright, and the fear of not being able to socialise. This information can serve as a springboard for teachers who would like to conduct modules that involve group dynamics and address such problems in class.
The website also features other helpful topics such as career counselling for students who are considering college or vocational school, programmes or interventions for eliminating violence in school, and even topics for teachers’ professional development.
The Guidance Channel Online is truly enriching not only for guidance and counselling practitioners but also for teachers from any field. Teaching requires one to interact and build relationships. Therefore, there is a need for information that hones one’s awareness on how to deal with teenagers, parents and the school community. At the same time, it keeps us up-to-date with the newest trends in education. With these resources, perhaps Carl Rogers’ statement about “loving your clients unconditionally” may not be so difficult to practise after all!