Pros: my own office, wonderful school employees that cared about the students
Cons: being a contract job there were no benefits.
I worked with students at both Erie Colorado Middle and High School. I was providing support and confidential counseling for the students as part of Mental Health Partnership, a third party agency and thus exempt from the policies that the school counselors had of sharing all information that students shared with the rest of the school system. I was – more... required to keep notes on all interactions with students and fill out ongoing progress notes as well as confer with a Mental Health Partnership supervisor on all of the students that saw me.
I learned that the open policy of the school system harbored distrust from the students and that many of them felt I was the last resource available to them. I also saw that many of them were dealing with issues that required services which exceeded what the school or in some cases state could adequately provide and that in many instances my ear was the only saving grace at their disposal. I felt it an honor to have had that opportunity and had the funding been available past the month contract date which I had signed I would have gladly stayed longer.
I suppose the hardest part of the job was hearing some of the stories that the children shared. They told stories that bordered on abuse and neglect and in only one instance met with standards that were sufficient for me to break my confidentiality and seek aid on the child's behalf.
That being said the children also shared the high points of their lives. I found that after the first week and a half they were divulging their hopes and dreams as they learned to trust me and some of them began to do some wonderful and heart felt work. In addition though I could not share their stories I as able to help some of them reframe their own stories and to then share their experiences with other counselors and or teachers from their schools. In this way a few of those students were able to take power back over their lives. – less