Influences on success for novice secondary counselors

Date
2006-12
Authors
McAlister, Gay Thomas
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Abstract

The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine the first year of novice secondary counselors. The research questions sought to identify and describe subjectively the supports, hindrances, and successes that novice counselors experienced as well as the role of family. A better understanding of supports for counselors could assist in reducing recent attrition rates cited by the American School Counselor Association. A population of 50 novice counselors during the 2004-05 or 2005-06 school year was invited to participate. A purposive sample of five novice secondary counselors volunteered for three focus group sessions conducted in a semi-structured interview format. Two principals participated in one on one interviews for additional perspective. Counselors described initial anxiety upon assuming their new roles, and recounted the challenges and difficulties they confronted. Counselors described hindrances in logistical problems with facilities and offices, technology, computer training, and coworkers. Mentoring, teamwork, new counselor meetings, and focus on the mission sustained them through challenging times. None of the counselors had dependent children at borne or were partnered at the time of the study; one of the principals was also single. The counselors who participated in this study are part of the 27 million Americans who live alone; single households now represent the second largest household structure in the nation. Participants in this study bonded into "work-families" for support and success of goals; they applied the strategies of family resilience for successful coping through the crisis of a new job. Despite obstacles, all counselors returned for a second year and subjectively rated their first year overall as successful. It appears that family resilience strategies can be applied successfully to " work-families" in order to mitigate the stressors of a new job. Additional study of single person household influences bears interest due to its ranking as the second largest family structure. Future research on new counselor induction is warranted to confirm the findings of this initial study with a larger sample and more diverse participants.

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Keywords
Student counselors -- Job satisfaction, Student counselors -- Attitudes, Single people -- Psychology, Dept of Family Sciences -- Dissertation
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