The activities of a day in the life of Mr. Richie vary. “As a school counselor your day varies a lot by what time of year it is,” said Mr. Richie. “If it’s right before school, you’re working a lot on the master schedule, making sure all students have a correct schedule, and making schedule changes the first week of school.” Richie, a guidance counselor at North Point, does everything from talking to students about their problems and concerns, to holding academic records, to helping students prepare for college.
Mr. Richie has been a counselor at North Point High School for eight years. He says he finds his job rewarding, but some aspects of it are difficult. “The most difficult part about my job is the paperwork,” he said. “There’s a lot of paperwork.” Also, being a guidance counselor, he has to deal with a lot of different expectations, from many different people. “The students want one thing, the parents want another, and the teacher wants another,” said Richie. “It’s all about finding a middle ground, or finding a place where everyone can agree on what’s going on.”
“On a daily basis I spend time answering e-mails from parents and teachers,” said Richie. “I have to spend time filling requests from colleges and scholarships for students.” He also spends a lot of time dealing with student issues. “If a student is having an issue at home, if they want to come into the office and talk to somebody, if they’re having an issue with a friend here at school and they need to come and have mediating between the students, I’m here for all of it,” he said.
As time goes on for Mr. Richie, some things get easier. He has to know about the ins and outs of the school system, and know what he can and cannot do in certain situations. He has to know what is and isn’t available for him to help a student with, such as what classes a student can and can’t take. Talking to parents about important issues gets easier as time goes on as well. “The first several years when you’re doing that, because you don’t do it all the time, it’s pretty difficult,” said Richie. “But, once you get the hang of it and you see how parents react to the news, it just becomes natural.”
Counselors are keepers of academic records, as well as the secretaries. But, don’t fret. “If the system crashes, we have all of the student’s grades on hard copies,” said Richie. A day in the life of Richie entails a lot of work, and a lot of patience. He’s always there for his students if they need to talk about an issue or concern, or even if they just want to get their transcripts. “Nobody becomes a guidance counselor… to do paperwork,” he said. “Guidance counselors want to help students; they want to talk to students. So, no matter what, if you have a problem, if I’m busy, I’m not that busy.”