Teachers as counsellors

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Teachers spend a great deal of time with their learners and should be able pick up on behavioural or academic signs that a learner is struggling. In a school set-up, it’s important that teachers make themselves approachable and accessible to assist learners with any problems. Have a look at some common problems and find out what you can do to support and counsel your learners.

Common problems you might encounter

Substance abuse
– The excessive use of tobacco, alcohol and other narcotics
– The learner either has a substance abuse issue, or someone in their lives abuses substances

Child abuse
– The misuse, mistreatment or violation of a child
– The learner is either the victim of the abuse or is exposed to abuse regularly

Community violence
– When power or violence is used to threaten or harm
– The learner is either a victim of violence by the community, or is forced to join in the violence

– The repeated aggressive behaviour intended using your strength or power to harm another learner
– The learner may be the victim or the bully themselves

Eating disorders
– Deliberately eating very little or throwing up after eating
– The learner could be suffering from this disorder, or be aware of someone else who is

– Deliberate self-inflicted behaviour
– The learner either partakes in self-mutilation or is exposed to someone who does

The three basic tips to counselling

1. Relationship – Develop a rapport with your learner
2. Confidentiality – Gain the trust of your learner by reassuring them of the confidentiality of the conversation
3. Record – Keep a detailed record of sessions and when they occurred

Steps you can take to support learners

1. Issue arises
– Learner approaches you, or
– You approach learner

2. Obtain all the facts
– Get all the information from the learner
– Get info from others too

3. Assess the situation
– What is the severity?
– Can you help the learner to come to a solution?

4. Report the case
– Report to a senior staff member if the situation is serious

5. Refer the learner
– If the learner needs extra support, refer them to school or district counsellor


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