• Suman Sidnal

Importance of Counselling for Students and Teachers

Updated: Oct 30, 2018

“Give the youth a proper environment. Motivate them. Extend them the support they need. Each one of them, has infinite source of energy. They will deliver.”

-Dhirubhai Ambani

India is set to become the youngest country by 2020. According to the findings of the ‘State of the Urban Youth, India 2012: Employment, Livelihoods, Skills,’ report published by IRIS Knowledge Foundation in collaboration with UN –HABITAT, the population in the age group of 15-34 increased from 340 million in 2001 to 353 million in 2011 and the current predictions suggest a steady increase in the youth population to 464 million by 2021. And this youth of our nation will hold important positions; will become policy makers, scientists and so on.

The future youth is the present generation of students who are struggling with identity crises, facing a battle not just against the world, but against themselves too, who are constantly having a surge to prove themselves to the world they live in and the virtual world they have created for themselves. And with the advent of technology, their state of vulnerability has just worsened.

From experiencing stress and anxiety to low self-esteem and depression, they have faced it all. While few of them have emerged as survivors, few struggled and lost the battle and most of them are still hiding under the mask of being ‘cool’ and staying ‘stronger.’ While some of them are aware of their vulnerabilities, most of them aren’t hence creating problems not just for themselves, but also for people around them.

These students don’t just enter their schools with books in their bags, but are also carrying a baggage full of queries and worries which if remained unanswered, will only make the baggage heavy weighing them down all the more.

So, in helping them become aware of their vulnerabilities and unpacking their baggages, counsellors play a vital role. By listening, being empathetic, providing unconditional positive regard and by utilizing their theoretical knowledge, counsellors build a rapport with the students which further helps them to share and heal themselves.

Also, having worked extensively with various educational institutions, I have observed the difficulties experienced by teachers while handling the students. I have always believed that the students aren’t giving a hard time, but they are having a hard time. So, it is imperative to empower the teachers to identify the problems and create a conducive learning and sharing atmosphere for the students.

In addition to stress, anxiety and depression, few of the students might also experience ADHD or have Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia and few others might have attention seeking behaviour which is why they behave the way they behave.

Hence enlightening the teaching fraternity about the various mental health issues faced by the students, will not only help them deal with the students skilfully, but will also help them perform effectively. When teachers in turn enlighten the parents about the various mental health issues faced by their ward, they play an important role in bridging the gap between the students and their parents, thereby collectively working towards the growth of the child.

For example, if a child struggles to read, spell and follow instructions, the parent might scold or make comments such as "you aren't trying enough" or "you are too lazy", but if the teacher is taught to identify kids with various learning disabilities, the teacher can communicate and collaborate with the parents and help the child by seeking a professional's help.

Apart from helping teachers to identify the issues faced by the students, counselling is equally essential for teachers who might experience difficulties of their own. Such as, burnout, having a tough day at school or struggling to strike a balance between work and home. This might lead them to lose interest at work or at home and they may also find themselves incapable of delivering as effectively as they did before. Hence, having a counsellor to talk to and vent out, will help them achieve clarity of thought and for few others, having regular and frequent  counselling sessions will help them deal with their problems effectively and objectively.

Therefore, counseling for teachers is as important as it is for the students, for teachers are directly responsible in producing a creative, motivated and a responsible youth who would hold positions that bring about a huge difference for the nation we live in. Since our past lessons have indeed taught us how one person alone has had tremendous negative power in society. Let's strive hard to bring in prodigious positive power on mankind and make this world a better place to live in.

#counselling #therapy #students #teachers #stress #coping #strategies #awareness #needofthehour

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About the Author:

Suman Sidnal is presently working as a school counsellor in Rashtriya Military School, Belgaum. She is also a visiting psychologist at the Airmen Training School, Air Force Station, Sambra. She enjoys working with children and when she isn't working, she writes poetry.


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