SURESH RAMPHUL

There are issues in a classroom which a teacher can solve. And there are those he can’t. If a student isn’t submitting his homework regularly, it’s always possible for the teacher to have a word with him and find out the reason behind it. He can simplify the homework, or give him some more attention during his free time. However, personality issues are another matter. Take the example of a student prone to anxiety, anger, nervousness or moodiness. Simple things put him on the edge. He can be verbally brutal. His body language may suggest that he can get physically out of control at any moment. This is a delicate and complex situation. The teacher may not have been trained to deal with it. A counsellor would be an ideal person to do so.

Colleges need to have the services of professional counsellors today. We have new problems cropping up and not every teacher, however good he is academically, can effectively address them. The teacher has to cover a syllabus within a specific time span, plan his lessons meticulously, make corrections, organise activities within the college as well as outside, prepare question papers, and supervise examinations. Hence, he may not have adequate time to give to students facing difficult psychological or emotional issues.

The teacher may not know what solutions would be appropriate for turbulent students. He may wish to help but it might be general in nature. The student’s problems may be deep and only a skilled counsellor can do the needful.

A student may be depressed because of problems at home. He may not wish to open himself up to a teacher out of embarrassment or shyness. He may not like to share for fear that the teacher might tell it to others. He will feel uncomfortable if he reveals the real situation prevailing at home. However, with a counsellor, it may be different, for he knows how to get the student’s trust.

A teacher may be associated with the idea of punishment, a counsellor may not. The latter is adequately equipped to listen in all confidentiality. He may be able to work with the student over time and to penetrate his thoughts. He may have to meet the parents. Teachers are trained to teach and the training they get in psychology, sociology and other such relevant topics may be far from extensive. A superficial knowledge may not be enough to tackle a student who constantly bullies others or who has made it a habit to lie or steal, or who imposes himself on others. There may also be the student who is disturbingly uncommunicative. Another one may suffer from a strong sense of self-pity because he is not performing well. These are characteristics relating to personality development and hence had better be left to the professional. He is more apt to advise and guide.

Understanding the young

Some parents aren’t willing to listen to anything against their kids. Tell them that their children often use foul language in class and they deny it. Tell them their children are addicted to their phones during lessons and they feel offended. They personalize it and think that you’re hitting at them. The teacher is at a loss what to do. Other parents are aggressive and threaten to assault the teacher. Meanwhile, the problem stagnates. A counsellor might not have to face this type of antagonism, which makes his work easier.

An educator may be experienced but may not necessarily have an insight into the rough moments in a student’s life. A counsellor may possess this quality. A lot goes on inside an adolescent’s life. One needs a profound understanding of the psychology of human behaviour to help those struggling with their conflicts. Some students are sensitive. They are overly oppressed by frustrations and failures. This has a negative impact on them and on their academic performance. The counsellor may be the right person to help them readjust.

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However much some people may deny it, the truth remains that synthetic drugs are very much present on our school premises. If we have many students who behave themselves correctly, the fact is that we do have a number of agitated students. In some colleges, the situation may be more pronounced, in some it may be less. But where there are students, problems are bound to occur. We need professionals to delve into the problems with which   students come to school.

The young tend to think that consuming drugs will help them relieve tension or offset stress. They’re concerned about the short-term effects not the long-term adverse effects. Drugs affect physiological as well as cognitive functions. The drug-user needs the support of his family. The counsellor is better placed than the teacher not only to get the family to play a significant part in combating drugs but also to explain and clarify what it means to the drug-user to fall into the criminal subculture. Or what it means to endanger his health and career.

Recently we had the case of some students clashing with the police in public. Students need to learn how to manage their emotions. This is why we need counsellors or psychologists.