"The opportunity was there!" A qualitative study of early-entrant school counselors. (General Features).Our nation's schools are facing increased challenges--violence, drug abuse, eating disorders eating disorders, in psychology, disorders in eating patterns that comprise four categories: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, rumination disorder, and pica. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by self-starvation to avoid obesity. , behavior problems, and suicide. There is a shortage of highly qualified school counselors A school counselor is a counselor and educator who works in schools, and have historically been referred to as "guidance counselors" or "educational counselors," although "Professional School Counselor" is now the preferred term. prepared to deal with a range of students, from those who are gifted to those who are in pain. (Schwab, 2001)
This excerpt ex·cerpt
A passage or segment taken from a longer work, such as a literary or musical composition, a document, or a film.
tr.v. ex·cerpt·ed, ex·cerpt·ing, ex·cerpts
1. clearly articulates how the perceived shortage of qualified school counselors may affect children in our nation's schools. In the 1960s, when faced with shortages of school counselors, paraprofessionals were introduced into school settings (Carlson & Pietrofesa, 1971). This role evolved into what the current American School Counselor Association (ASCA ASCA American School Counselor Association
ASCA Australian Shepherd Club of America
ASCA Arab Society of Certified Accountants
ASCA American Swimming Coaches Association
ASCA American Society of Consulting Arborists
ASCA Association of State Correctional Administrators , 1999) statement for paraprofessionals suggests are clerical tasks in the school. Today, most state laws as well as ethical and professional mandates require school counselors to obtain and hold professional licensure licensure
(lī´snsh or certification. This may require 48 to 60 semester hours Noun 1. semester hour - a unit of academic credit; one hour a week for an academic semester
course credit, credit - recognition by a college or university that a course of studies has been successfully completed; typically measured in semester hours in accredited accredited
recognition by an appropriate authority that the performance of a particular institution has satisfied a prestated set of criteria.
cattle herds which have achieved a low level of reactors to, e.g. programs. However, shortages may be addressed through state administrative codes for provisional licensure. The United Federation of Teachers (UFT UFT United Federation of Teachers
UFT Tegafur-Uracil (chemotherapy)
UFT Unified Field Theory (physics)
UFT Undergraduate Flying Training
UFT Unofficial Foreign Travel
UFT Up for Trade , n.d.) in their publication, Focus on Certification and Licensure: A Guide for PPTS PPTS Pyridinium P-Toluenesulfonate Teachers dedicates an entire section to temporary or provisional licensure issues among their membership. State boards state boards Examinations administered by a US state board of medical examiners to license a physician in a particular state; these examinations play an ever-decreasing role in state medical licensure, as these bodies now rely on standardized national examinations of education may grant conditional or provisional licenses for school counseling students prior to completion of their coursework coursework
work done by a student and assessed as part of an educational course
Noun 1. coursework - work assigned to and done by a student during a course of study; usually it is evaluated as part of the student's .
Provisional licensure opens the door for individuals with limited semester hours in their counselor education programs to enter the profession. Thus, students are hired as early-entrant school counselors. However, this hiring practice may have limitations (Stott, 1992). Early-entrant school counselors may lack the formal opportunity for pre-entry counseling experience through planned, supervised su·per·vise
tr.v. su·per·vised, su·per·vis·ing, su·per·vis·es
To have the charge and direction of; superintend.
[Middle English *supervisen, from Medieval Latin structured practica and internships.
In addition, early-entrant school counselors may lack the requisite knowledge, awareness, and skills necessary to fulfill ful·fill also ful·fil
tr.v. ful·filled, ful·fill·ing, ful·fills also ful·fils
1. To bring into actuality; effect: fulfilled their promises.
2. their professional roles within the school system. An example might include large and small group facilitation Facilitation
The process of providing a market for a security. Normally, this refers to bids and offers made for large blocks of securities, such as those traded by institutions. skills necessary for implementing guidance curriculum or small group work. Early-entrant school counselors facing these challenges on a daily basis may simultaneously be attempting to complete degree requirements or state endorsements. In reality, it is difficult for these individuals, employed full-time, to make up the deficits and qualify for professional licensure or certification (Kraft, 1992).
Many new school counselors find the realities associated with their positions "disconcerting dis·con·cert
tr.v. dis·con·cert·ed, dis·con·cert·ing, dis·con·certs
1. To upset the self-possession of; ruffle. See Synonyms at embarrass.
2. and/or disappointing" (Good, 1992, p. 85). This may be due to naivety na·ive·ty or na·ïve·ty
Artlessness or credulity; naiveté.
naivety or naïveté
the state or quality of being naive
Noun 1. or unrealistic expectations proportionate pro·por·tion·ate
Being in due proportion; proportional.
tr.v. pro·por·tion·at·ed, pro·por·tion·at·ing, pro·por·tion·ates
To make proportionate. to the lack of orientation to the profession. Early-entrant school counselors may exhibit feelings of inadequacy due to this lack of induction. In addition, experiential ex·pe·ri·en·tial
Relating to or derived from experience.
ex·peri·en limitations may create hardships (e.g., an underdeveloped un·der·de·vel·oped
Not adequately or normally developed; immature. concept of the school as a system) for the early-entrant school counselor (Kahn, 1999).
It has been the experience of this researcher that school counseling students are asked to accept positions prior to completing their graduate degrees. Therefore, students are confronted with the decision to enter the school counseling profession earlier than they had anticipated. Observations by the researcher indicate the decision-making process appears to be anxiety-laden. This may be due to student feelings of inadequacy, lack of confidence, or fears of early career goal attainment. Anxiety seems increased for these students when school district administrators, who are forced to choose between hiring early-entrants and denying children access to school counseling services, initiate the employment discussions.
Issues related to this decision-making process and the realities of employment for early-entrant school counselors have not been examined in the broader counseling literature and are absent from the literature on school counseling. As school counseling professionals, it is imperative to understand the phenomenon of early-entry into the profession and be able to provide assistance to these individuals.
The purpose of this qualitative investigation was to gain insight into the experiences of early-entrant school counselors who were a school counselor and a student simultaneously. The phenomenon of early entry into the profession was examined through school counselors' perceptions of their experiences as early-entrants to the field, the support they received, and supervision. Achieving understanding of the experiences of this potentially overlooked group within the school counseling profession may prove beneficial to future early-entrant school counselors, veteran school counselors, supervisors, and counselor education programs.
Participants in this study were purposefully pur·pose·ful
1. Having a purpose; intentional: a purposeful musician.
2. Having or manifesting purpose; determined: entered the room with a purposeful look. selected in accordance Accordance is Bible Study Software for Macintosh developed by OakTree Software, Inc.
As well as a standalone program, it is the base software packaged by Zondervan in their Bible Study suites for Macintosh. with the methods of naturalistic nat·u·ral·is·tic
1. Imitating or producing the effect or appearance of nature.
2. Of or in accordance with the doctrines of naturalism. inquiry. Qualitative research Qualitative research
Traditional analysis of firm-specific prospects for future earnings. It may be based on data collected by the analysts, there is no formal quantitative framework used to generate projections. in this case requires "purposefully selecting participants that can provide the best answers to phenomena being explored" (Creswell, 1994, p. 148). These selected individuals assist in "developing and verifying shared constructions" which allow for the "meaningful expansion of knowledge" (Erlandson, Harris, Skipper skipper: see butterfly.
Any of some 3,000 lepidopteran species (family Hesperiidae) named for their fast (up to 20 mph, or 30 kph), darting flight. , & Allen, 1993, p. 20). Participants in this study were selected based on two criteria: (a) Each had accepted employment as a school counselor prior to completing their graduate degree in counselor education, and (b) each had similar state requirements for provisional licensure.
Seven (N = 7) early-entrant school counselors from Midwestern elementary and secondary public schools were asked to voluntarily participate in the study. Five of the early-entrant school counselors had recently completed their master's degree master's degree
An academic degree conferred by a college or university upon those who complete at least one year of prescribed study beyond the bachelor's degree.
Noun 1. programs in school counseling at the time of the interviews. Two early-entrant school counselors were within one semester se·mes·ter
One of two divisions of 15 to 18 weeks each of an academic year.
[German, from Latin (cursus) s of completing their degree programs. The participants had been employed as early-entry school counselors on either a full-time or part-time basis for 1 to 3 years (M = 2.2 years). Graduate credit hours accumulated at the time of employment as an early-entrant school counselor ranged from 0 to 28, with an average of 15 hours completed when employed as a school counselor.
All of the participants were employed as early-entrant school counselors in schools with fewer than 400 students. The counselor-student ratio for the participants averaged 1 to 350. Six of the early entrant en·trant
One that enters, especially one that enters a competition.
[French, from present participle of entrer, to enter, from Old French; see enter. school counselors were hired as the only school counselor in their building and in two cases they were the only school counselor in the district. The researcher became professionally acquainted with the participants over a period of one year prior to conducting the interviews
Data were collected through telephone interviews. The first contact requested voluntary participation from each individual. Informed consent information was read to each participant and an appointment was scheduled for the actual interview. Following the initial contact, participants were mailed a written copy of the informed consent by standard mail. At the mutually established time, interviews were conducted using the standardized standardized
pertaining to data that have been submitted to standardization procedures.
standardized morbidity rate
see morbidity rate.
standardized mortality rate
see mortality rate. open-ended interview guide. The interviews were recorded for later transcription and data analysis.
A standardized open-ended interview guide was constructed using questions developed by the researcher. Drawing from relevant literature (Crutchfield & Borders, 1997; Granello & Hazler, 1998; Morrisette, 2000; Paisley Paisley (pāz`lē), town (1991 pop. 84,330), Renfrewshire, W Scotland, on the White Cart Water, a stream. It has a thriving textile industry and is an extremely large producer of thread. & Borders, 1995; Roberts, Morotti, Herrick, & Tilbury Tilbury (tĭl`bərē), part of the urban district of Thurrock, Essex, E England. Tilbury Fort originated under Henry VIII; it was rebuilt and strengthened in the 17th cent. , 2001; Sutton & Page, 1994), the researcher selected three factors for exploration of early-entrant school counseling: (a) experiences of the early-entrants, (b) perceptions of support, and (c) perceptions of supervision. Questions were developed to explore the three factors and the perceptions of the experiences of early-entrant counselors. The standardized open-ended interview guide contained 12 items (see Appendix). Each participant responded to the items in the same order.
Data in qualitative research are analyzed an·a·lyze
tr.v. an·a·lyzed, an·a·lyz·ing, an·a·lyz·es
1. To examine methodically by separating into parts and studying their interrelations.
2. Chemistry To make a chemical analysis of.
3. as "a progression, not a stage; an on-going process, not a one-time event" (Erlandson et al., 1993, p. 111). The researcher used three qualitative strategies in data analysis: (a) data reduction, (b) data display, and (c) drawing conclusions concerning the phenomenon of early-entrant school counseling (Miles & Huberman, 1984). Data reduction is the division of data into the "smallest pieces of information" or breaking the data down into the "one idea found in a portion of content" (Erlandson et al., 1993, p. 117). Each interview was transcribed and identified with a code assigned to the participant. Transcriptions were printed in a 4-inch wide column on one side of a landscape formatted 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper.
The first step in data reduction required the researcher to carefully read and identify words or phrases from the transcripts. When a unit of meaning was identified, it was then written in the adjacent column. After the transcription was deconstructed using this method, the researcher read each unit again to ensure data were reduced to the smallest unit of meaning. Units of data were then transferred to small index cards. This method of data reduction was used for all of the transcriptions. These cards were sorted and grouped according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the researcher's perceived meaning. At this point, the researcher began to gain a cursory cur·so·ry
Performed with haste and scant attention to detail: a cursory glance at the headlines.
[Late Latin curs awareness of ideas, concepts, and themes surfacing from the data. A data display was created to organize themes and draw conclusions.
The process of drawing conclusions from the data incorporated questions such as, "Are there words or concepts that are recurring re·cur
intr.v. re·curred, re·cur·ring, re·curs
1. To happen, come up, or show up again or repeatedly.
2. To return to one's attention or memory.
3. To return in thought or discourse. in the aggregate data? Are there themes and patterns that have surfaced from the written material as the researcher works with the data?" (Jackson & White, 2000, p. 278). These questions were answered through the utilization of the constant comparative method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). This method is a repetitious rep·e·ti·tious
Filled with repetition, especially needless or tedious repetition.
repe·ti way of comparing unitized word statements to "generate theoretical properties of a category" (Glaser & Strauss, p. 106). Data cards were initially placed into categories with similar meanings. These categories were labeled and each data card was considered in comparison with other cards under the label. For example, a data card containing "feelings of being overwhelmed o·ver·whelm
tr.v. o·ver·whelmed, o·ver·whelm·ing, o·ver·whelms
1. To surge over and submerge; engulf: waves overwhelming the rocky shoreline.
a. as a school counselor" was initially grouped with cards indicating "lack of experience." However, when compared to other word phrases under this label, the unit appeared out of place. The card was then compared to statements in other groupings until a similar meaning category was found. If a datum The singular form of data; for example, one datum. It is rarely used, and data, its plural form, is commonly used for both singular and plural. unit did not seem to fit in any category, a new category was formed. The comparison continued until the researcher determined all of the unitized data were placed in the appropriate categories. Four categories emerged as themes that helped the researcher draw conclusions concerning early-entrant school counselors' experiences. The themes were early employment considerations, personal anxiety, professional growth and development, and supervision.
Trustworthiness trustworthiness Ethics A principle in which a person both deserves the trust of others and does not violate that trust of the Study
How can counseling professionals know the themes emerging from this study are trustworthy? Qualitative research requires the researcher to establish trustworthiness or truthfulness of findings based on the specific conditions of credibility, transferability, dependability dependability - software reliability , and confirmability (Erlandson et al., 1993). To enhance credibility, the researcher used the procedures suggested by Lincoln and Guba (1985). First, prolonged pro·long
tr.v. pro·longed, pro·long·ing, pro·longs
1. To lengthen in duration; protract.
2. To lengthen in extent. engagement and persistent observation were utilized. The researcher was professionally acquainted with each of the participants in this study and, therefore, was able to validate experiential comments through observations of their professional growth over an extended period of time. Second, participant triangulation triangulation: see geodesy.
The use of two known coordinates to determine the location of a third. Used by ship captains for centuries to navigate on the high seas, triangulation is employed in GPS receivers to pinpoint their current location on earth. was established by the researcher through collecting and combining data for comparison of shared individual experiences from multiple early-entrant school counselors. Third, member checks were conducted by presenting perceived themes and interview content to the study's participants to ensure they were in agreement with the written comments. And fourth, peer debriefing de·brief·ing
1. The act or process of debriefing or of being debriefed.
2. The information imparted during the process of being debriefed.
Noun 1. was held to increase researcher objectivity by discussing thoughts, perceptions, insights, and conclusions with a professional educator who had a working knowledge of the experiences of school counseling.
Transferability answers the question, "How applicable are the findings [to other early-entrant school counselors]?" (Erlandson et al., 1993, p. 117). Transferability in this study was ensured in two ways. First, the researcher purposefully selected participants who shared the experience of being early-entrant school counselors in the same geographic region. And second, the researcher designed the study to allow participants the opportunity to discuss in-depth their experiences, perceived support, and views of supervision.
Dependability in qualitative research relates to consistency. The dependability for this study was based on keeping an audit or record of procedural steps (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Information recorded in the audit record included participant contacts, interview collection, timelines, and narrative analysis.
Confirmability relates to objectivity (Erlandson et al., 1993). How objective are the outcomes of the study? The researcher kept a journal of reflective thoughts during the research process. The researcher also discussed the narrative analysis with a peer to decrease researcher bias during the process. Findings are presented in a manner to indicate support from relevant counseling literature. It is the researcher's opinion that trustworthiness was established in this study, leading to results that are transferable.
A theme must have been acknowledged by the majority of the early-entrant school counselors to be considered as indicative of the group. Therefore, when the word participants is used in the results section, the reader may assume the majority of the participants provided dialogue consistent with the concept being presented. Four major themes emerged from the data analysis: early employment considerations, personal anxiety, professional growth and development, and supervision. The recurrence recurrence /re·cur·rence/ (-ker´ens) the return of symptoms after a remission.recur´rent
1. of these themes among the study participants was unmistakable. Themes are presented in order of their perceived importance for early-entrant school counselors.
Early Employment Considerations
Early employment considerations were defined as the conditions leading to early entry into the school counseling profession. Each of the early-entrant school counselors shared similar reasons for accepting school counseling positions prior to completion of their degree program. In qualitative research this is called shared experiences (Erlandson et al., 1993). Three aspects of early employment decision making surfaced from the data. The first aspect was increased job opportunities such as the availability of unfilled school counseling positions. This aspect appeared to be the most influential factor in the participants' career decision making as confirmed by one participant who said, "The reason I entered early was because I needed to get back to work, and the job opportunity was there!" Another participant explained, "No one else was qualified or [available] that they [the school district] could find to fill the position." Thus, the shortage of school counselor applicants and the reciprocal Bilateral; two-sided; mutual; interchanged.
Reciprocal obligations are duties owed by one individual to another and vice versa. A reciprocal contract is one in which the parties enter into mutual agreements. opportunities for those pursuing school counseling degrees creates an environment conducive con·du·cive
Tending to cause or bring about; contributive: working conditions not conducive to productivity. See Synonyms at favorable. to early entry into the profession.
This situation connects to the second aspect shared by research participants, the opportunity for on-the-job experience for school counseling students. The following comment characterizes the significance early-entrant school counselors may place on gaining on-the-job experience: "I thought it would be a good experience, you know, to get experience before I actually graduated." Another student provided an explanation for their choice with, "I thought it would be a great addition to my learning experience along with the counseling program." The third and final aspect for early employment decision making was previous counseling-related job experience. An example would be the person employed as a helper in an adolescent group home. A participant described her previous experience in the following way, "Before teaching I worked as a family and individual group therapist at a residential place for 4 to 5 years, and I really enjoyed that line of work." Another said, "I worked as a treatment counselor at a residential facility."
Strategies for coping with early-entry into the profession included information gathering. This was indicated by one counselor who stated, "I gathered information to help me start out, but I tell you it took a lot." These early-entrant school counselors sought to acquire knowledge from written materials, professional conferences and workshops, and human resources The fancy word for "people." The human resources department within an organization, years ago known as the "personnel department," manages the administrative aspects of the employees. .
Areas of encouragement and motivation during their employment as early-entry professionals were clearly indicated by the school counselors. Motivational experiences centered on the interpersonal in·ter·per·son·al
1. Of or relating to the interactions between individuals: interpersonal skills.
2. climate of the school systems. As one participant stated, "I had a really good support staff that I worked with [at the school]. The teachers knew the students very well and were able to give me some insights." All of the participants were united in expressing the importance of interpersonal support from faculty, staff, administrators, and students. They conveyed the message that faculty members were supportive. Concerning support from the students one school counselor said, "The kids were wonderful!"
Personal anxiety was defined as the emotional reactions, thoughts, and behavioral decision making experienced during employment as an early-entrant school counselor. All of the participants spoke of being overwhelmed and pressured to be all-knowing. This was conveyed by one person who stated, "The first year, it was overwhelming. Now, I think twofold overwhelming. I felt a lot of pressure to know what was going on with all of the students." Another early-entrant school counselor painted a verbal picture of isolation as illustrated by this statement: "It was overwhelming in that I was kind of just like an island, because no one else in the building was doing my job. I was just overwhelmed much of the year." Intense emotional thoughts concerning personal anxiety were confirmed during data reduction through word phrases such as nerve wrecking or intimidating in·tim·i·date
tr.v. in·tim·i·dat·ed, in·tim·i·dat·ing, in·tim·i·dates
1. To make timid; fill with fear.
2. To coerce or inhibit by or as if by threats. .
Professional Growth and Learning
Paisley and McMahon (2001) described professional skill development as "necessary for school counselors to learn more about specific skills that will help them to more effectively meet the needs of students, but which they may not have acquired through formal education" (p. 111). The professional growth and learning theme validates the early-entrant school counselors' perceived need for continued learning. Narrative data related to professional development was combined under this theme. Two categories emerged from the aggregate data under this theme. First, the need for the acquisition of specific knowledge and skills was prominent. High on the lists of priorities for these early-entrant school counselors were the need to learn new information quickly, seek out professional knowledge, and develop skills. This was depicted de·pict
tr.v. de·pict·ed, de·pict·ing, de·picts
1. To represent in a picture or sculpture.
2. To represent in words; describe. See Synonyms at represent. through expressions of feelings of inadequacy and not being fully prepared for employment. One early-entrant school counselor, in hindsight hind·sight
1. Perception of the significance and nature of events after they have occurred.
2. The rear sight of a firearm. , expressed astonishment and disbelief Disbelief
See also Skepticism.
Trojan who mistrusted Trojan Horse; cautioned against bringing it into the city. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 50]
no one gave credence to her accurate prophecies of doom. [Gk. Myth. : "I did not feel prepared at all to start taking on that kind of responsibility! And what really bothered me most was that I hadn't had a course in ethics ethics, in philosophy, the study and evaluation of human conduct in the light of moral principles. Moral principles may be viewed either as the standard of conduct that individuals have constructed for themselves or as the body of obligations and duties that a yet!" Another counselor said, "It was an eye-opener for me. I thought I was ready, and then I realized I wasn't." Collecting and reading as much relevant material as possible seemed to abate abate v. to do away with a problem, such as a public or private nuisance or some structure built contrary to public policy. This can include dikes which illegally direct water onto a neighbors property, high volume noise from a rock band or a factory, an improvement these feelings of inadequacy.
The second emergent emergent /emer·gent/ (e-mer´jent)
1. coming out from a cavity or other part.
2. pertaining to an emergency.
1. coming out from a cavity or other part.
2. coming on suddenly. category within the professional growth theme was increased professional self-awareness, which closely parallels the first category of acquisition of knowledge and skills. As the early-entrant school counselors recognized their need for increased knowledge and skills, they appeared to experience a heightened sense of professional self-awareness. This created a need to develop networks with school counseling colleagues and university professors. Professional development opportunities involving other school counselors appeared to rise to the forefront. Feedback from the school counselors on the importance of professional development with peers illustrates this point. One participant stated, "I attended seminars, as many as possible." Another counselor expressed awareness of a struggle between attending meetings and time constraints In law, time constraints are placed on certain actions and filings in the interest of speedy justice, and additionally to prevent the evasion of the ends of justice by waiting until a matter is moot. : "I tried to go to state counseling association meetings, or the American Counseling Association The American Counseling Association (ACA) is a non-profit, professional organization that is dedicated to the counseling profession. ACA is the world's second largest association exclusively representing professional counselors. meetings, but that is something I really couldn't do until this year because of the time."
The supervision theme for this sample encompasses supervision by school administrators (administrative supervision) and supervision of counseling skills counseling skills,
n the acquired verbal and nonverbal skills that enhance communication by helping a medical professional to establish a good rapport with a patient or client. (clinical supervision; Bernard & Goodyear, 1998). Four important issues emerged concerning supervision of early-entrant school counselors at their employment sites. First, there was an absence of supervision. Participants reported not receiving supervision during their experiences or confused supervision with evaluation. However, this may be indicative of the student/counselors' developmental levels. As one participant stated, "Umm, I don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. what you mean by supervised." Another individual was more resolute res·o·lute
Firm or determined; unwavering.
[Middle English, dissolved, dissolute, from Latin resol and said, "I had no supervision. Basically, I was on my own." Yet, another participant stated, "I suppose there was really nobody."
The second category concerned the duality Duality (physics)
The state of having two natures, which is often applied in physics. The classic example is wave-particle duality. The elementary constituents of nature—electrons, quarks, photons, gravitons, and so on—behave in some respects of supervision (administrative ,and clinical) that exists in school systems. Clinical supervision seemed to be nonexistent non·ex·is·tence
1. The condition of not existing.
2. Something that does not exist.
non in the schools in which the early-entrant school counselors were employed. Administrative supervision appeared to be considered synonymous with synonymous with
adjective equivalent to, the same as, identical to, similar to, identified with, equal to, tantamount to, interchangeable with, one and the same as evaluation by most of the participants. Participants mentioned being supervised by school administrators using district or teacher evaluations. One school counselor stated, "Well, my principal, I mean I had to talk to him a lot because he would have helped me in different areas. Not necessarily personal counseling but just different things, deadlines, and certain things in school." However, one participant seems to confirm the perception that supervision is equal to evaluation in her determined statement:
My principal supervised me, and I definitely had accountability. I mean I had to be accountable for my time, and so he was very good about giving me some flexibility. But he also wanted me to prove I was being accountable with what I was doing and keep some kind of records that he would look at. And he would maybe even show up when it was supposed to be a classroom guidance lesson. He would just show up to make sure he could evaluate me fairly, and he did.
One early-entrant school counselor recognized peer supervision as a possibility by acknowledging, "A couple of head counselors in the district helped me in a few situations when it came to some crisis, so I would say that was more supervision than it was team work." This was the only statement of this kind that emerged from the data.
The third issue under the supervision theme was the delivery of clinical supervision to the early-entrant school counselors by university professors. Many of the early-entrant school counselors alluded to clinical supervision by university supervisors during their practicum practicum (prak´tikm),
n See internship. and internship internship /in·tern·ship/ (in´tern-ship) the position or term of service of an intern in a hospital.
n the course work or practicum conducted in a professional dental clinic. as they were finishing their graduate programs. These are indicated in the following statements: "I had my first supervisor, when I was in the internship experience [after 6 months of employment]. I think it would have been helpful, being someone in the job who has not completed the program, if I had had some supervision early on [at the school]." Another school counselor equated her poor experience to the lack of supervision and stated, "The first year I would say it wasn't the greatest because I didn't have someone that was really supervising me."
In addition to consulting with university faculty, the early-entrant school counselors spoke highly of colleagues. Veteran school counselors were perceived as extremely helpful as indicated by this comment: "The support system that counselors gave [me] in the district really helped. I really had to rely upon others to get started." However, another participant was not as fortunate. She confided, "There was an individual outside the district that I called for advice and to consult, but there was no one inside the district." All of the school counselors utilized consultation extensively during their early-entrant experiences, especially during the first year.
The fourth issue emerging within the theme of supervision was the openness to innovative approaches to supervision. Two innovative approaches were explored--the use of technology (e.g., e-mail and video conferencing See videoconferencing.
(communications) video conferencing - A discussion between two or more groups of people who are in different places but can see and hear each other using electronic communications. ) and the use of an auxiliary auxiliary
In grammar, a verb that is subordinate to the main lexical verb in a clause. Auxiliaries can convey distinctions of tense, aspect, mood, person, and number. supervisor. All of the early-entrant school counselors agreed the opportunity for distance supervision or electronic mail for supervision would have been helpful to them during their initial employment. Technological advances--the use of distance supervision using video conferencing or synchronous Refers to events that are synchronized, or coordinated, in time. For example, the interval between transmitting A and B is the same as between B and C, and completing the current operation before the next one is started are considered synchronous operations. Contrast with asynchronous. (chat) or asynchronous Refers to events that are not synchronized, or coordinated, in time. The following are considered asynchronous operations. The interval between transmitting A and B is not the same as between B and C. The ability to initiate a transmission at either end. (e-mail) dialoguing programs--were considered potentially helpful by the participants for future early-entrant school counselors, especially for those who might fill the only school counseling positions in small or rural schools. The concept of auxiliary clinical supervisors, defined by the researcher as a veteran school counselor not employed by the same school district as their school counselor supervisee, was hesitantly hes·i·tant
Inclined or tending to hesitate.
Adv. 1. embraced by the participants. These early-entrant school counselors expressed mixed feelings concerning an auxiliary supervisor but were primarily positive. As one participant stated, "I think it would have been nice just to have feedback and the constructive kind of helpful things. Because I do think the first year when I was so caught up in things, I missed ways I could've grown and improved, but it would depend on the person."
Overall Expressions of the Early-Entrant Experience
Through hindsight, the early-entrant school counselors were able to provide thoughts on their overall experiences, which may be insightful for counselor educators, school counselors, and school administrators. One participant expressed positive thoughts mixed with personal insight: "It was a good experience. But I think there was a lot more that I needed to have experience in before actually becoming a school counselor." Another school counselor reflected on her experiences: "What I faced was that there was no curriculum set; it was basically open to whatever ideas I had. They didn't have any standards about what they expected from me. There were very few resources." And another said, "I felt a lack of support." Comments by participants demonstrated a struggle between what they had learned about school counseling and what they were being told by administrators. A participant stated, "The principal kind of overlooked, you know, some of the problems that the school faced or that the children faced. So that was hard."
The personal awareness found in hindsight provides much insight into the experiences of these early-entrant school counselors. Early-entrant school counselors expressed difficulty with on-the-job decision making as reflected in the following personal testimonial: "I was told by my administrator to concentrate primarily on the secondary level and don't worry much about the elementary level, even though I was hired K-12." And yet another described the occupational decision making in this manner:
Initially all of the roles that you play, and not knowing quite how to prioritize those roles and balance everything at once, is overwhelming. Knowing that you have to get a child study prepared for the next step, but you have a crisis that happens. Or knowing that you have [educational cooperative] people coming in an hour, but you have this child falling apart in your office and thinking, do you leave and go to the meeting or just finish working with the child. Those are the kind of things I think I struggled with more the first year.
Another described the struggle in terms of coping as follows:
The biggest thing that I felt I had to overcome or I had to cope with in some way was how to help students with different situations. I always call it tricks in my bag. What are some of my suggestions and solutions when kids come with certain problems? I hadn't had any coursework on that. I hadn't had internship to work with somebody on how I would solve this, how would you help this person. Developing that the first year was kind of challenging.
Early-entrant school counselors were asked to describe their overall experiences. Their comments provide powerful statements in this research study, illuminating il·lu·mi·nate
v. il·lu·mi·nat·ed, il·lu·mi·nat·ing, il·lu·mi·nates
1. To provide or brighten with light.
2. To decorate or hang with lights.
3. the difficulty of entering a field requiring specific professional knowledge and skills. Counselor's comments are reflective and provide much needed insight into the experiences of early-entrant school counselors. One participant provided this reflection of her overall experience and stated:
I am really glad I did it the way I did. I think it was perfect the way my situation ended up. While I was finishing the last year, because I was in school and a counselor at the same time, I had so much I could apply while I was learning. I also saw where the holes were in my training, and so I could seek answers to things that were not covered.
Another said, "Overall, I am not saying that I didn't have a good experience, but I don't personally feel that I was prepared to be put in the situation." Confirmation of support was provided by another who stated, "You definitely need the support behind you to help you get through it. If you didn't have that, then I think you would sink. I mean I just couldn't imagine being [a school counselor] in a small town that doesn't have anyone to talk to."
Findings from this study provide insight into the experiences of early-entrant school counselors. In particular, results indicated four thematic the·mat·ic
1. Of, relating to, or being a theme: a scene of thematic importance.
2. areas of concern for school counseling professionals working with early-entrant school counselors. To recap re·cap 1
tr.v. re·capped, re·cap·ping, re·caps
1. To replace a cap or caplike covering on: recapped the bottle.
2. , the themes were early employment decision making, personal anxiety, professional development and learning, and supervision. These findings illustrate early-entrant school counselors are resilient See resiliency. in the professional transition between being school counseling students and fully functioning school counselors.
Recruitment of early-entrant school counselors by their school principals was a common experience. Being approached by an administrator appeared to be perceived with pride. Principals influence school counselor functioning (Beale, 1995; Neukrug, Barr, Hoffman, & Kaplan, 1993; Ribak-Rosenthal, 1994). The pride in being "hand-picked" by the principal appeared to have a large impact on participants' early employment considerations. However, this pride was overshadowed by feelings of personal anxiety in the actual experiencing of the position. Students in school counselor education programs need to be equipped to deal with recruitment issues prior to matriculation ma·tric·u·late
tr. & intr.v. ma·tric·u·lat·ed, ma·tric·u·lat·ing, ma·tric·u·lates
To admit or be admitted into a group, especially a college or university.
Findings related to the personal anxiety experienced by the early-entrant school counselors in this study are very similar to Morrisette's (2000) results on the experiences of rural school counselors. Early-entrant school counselors felt the lack of resources, excessive responsibility, and need for support led to personal anxiety.
The supervision theme in this study supports findings from supervision research related to school counseling. Supervision is lacking for school counselors in general (Crutchfield & Borders, 1997; Henderson & Gysbers, 1998; Roberts & Borders, 1994; Sutton & Page, 1994). Because early-entrant school counselors enter the profession with varying amounts of individual professional competence, functioning within the boundaries of their competence needs to be monitored through supervision (Sutton & Page). Therefore, this study provides yet another call for enhancing supervision practices in school counseling.
For early-entrant school counselors the question becomes: Who is responsible for their nonuniversity-affiliated clinical supervision--their employers or their counselor education programs? The answer to this ethical question requires further study. Truly, supervision is the one area in schools where there seems to be incongruent in·con·gru·ent
1. Not congruent.
in·congru·ence n. perspectives between administrators and counseling professionals. Yet, counselor education faculty are viewed as consultants for these early-entrant professionals. A resounding re·sound
v. re·sound·ed, re·sound·ing, re·sounds
1. To be filled with sound; reverberate: The schoolyard resounded with the laughter of children.
2. reliance of early-entry school counselors in this study on their university school counseling program faculty emerged from the interviews. Each of the school counselors verbalized this important connection. This emergent pattern calls for further research into the perspective of the university school counseling faculty perceptions of the phenomenon of early-entrant school counselors and their perceptions of ethical relationships An ethical relationship, in most theories of ethics that employ the term, is a basic and trustworthy relationship that one has to another human being, that cannot necessarily be characterized in terms of any abstraction other than trust and common protection of each other's body. within counselor education programs.
Professional development is commonly accepted as necessary in school counseling and is mandated by the Ethical Standards for School Counselors (ASCA, 1998). The challenges school counselors confront daily are compounded by the necessity to acquire new knowledge and skills to meet changing society demands (Neely, 1982). Interpersonal connections and networking from human resources were important in providing knowledge for these early-entrant school counselors. Examples of reliance on peers, veteran school counselors, university professors, and building principals to gain knowledge and skills were reflected in the narrative content. Knowledge of the early-entrant school counselors' needs for professional development provides professional organizations a foundation for the development of workshops and seminars.
Recommendations for School Counseling
Recommendations for early-entrant school counselors, school administrators, school districts, and school counselor education programs emerged from this study and necessitate ne·ces·si·tate
tr.v. ne·ces·si·tat·ed, ne·ces·si·tat·ing, ne·ces·si·tates
1. To make necessary or unavoidable.
2. To require or compel. attention. The following recommendations for enhancement of the experiences of early-entrant school counselors are presented for consideration:
1. The collaborative creation of professional development plans by early-entrant school counselors, university advisors, and building principals may provide a structure for increasing professional growth and learning opportunities, establishing clinical supervision prior to practicum and internships, and decreasing personal anxiety for these individuals.
2. Increasing knowledge and awareness concerning the differing perspectives and definitions of supervision for school counselors in educational leadership and counseling coursework may help to build a common language across specialty fields.
3. School counselors are entering the profession early with little or no actual coursework. It may be necessary to realign re·a·lign
tr.v. re·a·ligned, re·a·lign·ing, re·a·ligns
1. To put back into proper order or alignment.
2. To make new groupings of or working arrangements between. counselor preparation curriculum sequences and state licensure requirements to mandate prescribed pre·scribe
v. pre·scribed, pre·scrib·ing, pre·scribes
1. To set down as a rule or guide; enjoin. See Synonyms at dictate.
2. To order the use of (a medicine or other treatment). coursework be completed prior to employment as a school counselor. One counselor who had been through a year of coursework found her learning experiences helpful. She stated, "I had a year of classes before I took the job. So I felt somewhat prepared." This may indicate early entrant school counselors perceive themselves to be more prepared with a prescribed amount of course preparation prior to employment.
4. A strong reliance on university school counselor educators exists among the early-entrant school counselors. This strong reliance on counselor educators requires further examination of ethical responsibilities and research. Contractual agreements or partnerships between employing school districts and universities for supervision and consultation of these early-entrant school counselors may need to be developed.
5. An important factor in the success of early-entrant school counselors appears to be the interpersonal support from principals, teachers, students, and fellow counselors. Encouraging interpersonal support may enhance early-entrant counselor success.
6. Professional development activities like conferences, workshops, seminars, and district counselors meetings were the primary means through which early-entrant school counselors gained knowledge and skills for service delivery to students. Conference planners and program chairs must be cognizant cog·ni·zant
Fully informed; conscious. See Synonyms at aware.
Adj. 1. of the needs of school counselors in their initial years of employment, and particularly the needs of early-entrant school counselors, by offering practical educational programs relevant to daily service delivery.
7. A concentration on skills for building professional networks may help improve induction into the field of school counseling for all new entrants. Induction may be viewed as a primary responsibility of the school counselor supervisor.
8. Early-entrant school counselors with prior work experience in a counseling-related position appeared to transfer previously learned knowledge to the new employment setting. School district administrators and search committees may choose to use this information in making hiring decisions. Counselor education programs may choose to use this information for encouraging counseling-related experiences in initial coursework.
9. Research is rare on the effects of clinical supervision for school counselors (Agnew, Vaught, Getz, & Fortune, 2000; Crutchfield & Borders, 1997; Roberts & Borders, 1994; Sutton & Page, 1994). Further research needs to be conducted regarding early-entrant school counselors, particularly in the areas of preparation and supervision.
The voices of these early-entrant school counselors may personify per·son·i·fy
tr.v. per·son·i·fied, per·son·i·fy·ing, per·son·i·fies
1. To think of or represent (an inanimate object or abstraction) as having personality or the qualities, thoughts, or movements of a living being: the expression, trial by fire. First year experiences were metaphorically expressed by the following statement: "I would say my first year I just kind of jumped in the water with both flippers n. 1. A type of shoe with a paddle-like front extending well beyond the end of the toe, used an aid in swimming (especially underwater). and tried to hold my head above water." These words imply the struggle felt by these young professionals. Early-entrant school counselors must be empowered and supported in the performance of their duties while being held ethically responsible to practice within the scope of their competence. These young professionals, in the field serving America's children, need veteran school counselors and school counselor educators who are willing to swim beside them and help them keep their heads above water until they are strong enough to swim alone.
1. What experiences influenced your decision to pursue a position as an early-entrant school counselor?
2. How many years have you been an early-entrant school counselor?
3. What education did you have that prepared you to be an early-entrant school counselor?
4. What were your experiences as an early-entrant school counselor?
5. What were some of the challenges you faced upon entry into the profession of school counseling?
6. What were some of the motivations or encouragements you received as you entered the profession of school counseling?
7. Describe how you gained information, knowledge, and skills as an early-entrant school counselor.
8. What were your experiences with developing a network of colleagues as an early-entrant school counselor?
9. What were your supervision experiences?
10. Given the technological advances in supervision, would or did you participate in supervision by distance technology?
11. How might an auxiliary supervisor (supervisor not under contract with the school district) have been a benefit or a hindrance hin·drance
a. The act of hindering.
b. The condition of being hindered.
2. One that hinders; an impediment. See Synonyms at obstacle. in your supervision as an early-entrant school counselor?
12. Are there any other comments you would like to make regarding early-entrant school counselors and your experiences?
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Please help [ rewrite this article] from a neutral point of view.
Mark blatant advertising for , using . : Suggested guidelines guidelines,
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1. Nautical A square bar used as a support for a topmast.
2. A large tapering pin used to open the strands of a rope before splicing.
[Origin unknown.] =204
Tarrell Awe Agahe Portman, Ph.D., LMCH, NCC NCC
See National Clearing Corporation (NCC). , is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation rehabilitation: see physical therapy. , and Student Development at The University of Iowa Not to be confused with Iowa State University.
The first faculty offered instruction at the University in March 1855 to students in the Old Mechanics Building, situated where Seashore Hall is now. In September 1855, the student body numbered 124, of which, 41 were women. , Iowa City Iowa City, city (1990 pop. 59,738), seat of Johnson co., E Iowa, on both sides of the Iowa River; founded 1839 as the capital of Iowa Territory, inc. 1853. Among its manufactures are foam rubber, animal feed, paper, and food products. The city is the seat of the Univ. . E-mail: email@example.com This project was funded through an Old Gold research grant.