President of the Barbados Association of Guidance Counsellors, Saul Leacock, wants to extend a helping hand to parents.
Doing so, he told Barbados TODAY in a telephone interview, could alleviate some of the challenges he and his colleagues faced in schools.
A guidance counsellor at Daryll Jordan Secondary School since 2008, he said that he said that he wanted to explore the possibility of working with the National Council of Parent Teacher Associations to get into the schools to do some parenting workshops.
“This could either be the primary or the secondary level dealing with the task of parenting, parenting skills or strategies,” Leacock said.
The main challenge was parenting and the lack of cooperation from parents in dealing with issues that arose with their children.
“Lack of parental training, [is a problem]. Parents don’t know what to do, they throw their hands up in the air and … sometimes they don’t come to the school or they do not have a strong hand of control over their children so they do not understand consequences,” he said.
Leacock said the children did not feel their parents would do anything to them.
“They tell me my mother ain’t gine do me nutten, my father ain’t gine do me nutten and the parent bears it out but if the strong hand of the parent at home and consequences that will follow if they’re any misdemeanors or trouble really gives us a good boost.
“We know they will feel a way if we call the parent, if we involve the parent,” said the president.
Another challenge they encountered was their heavy work load which would be eased if another guidance counsellor or social worker was hired.
“At my school the ratio is 1:700, some schools have 1:1,010. There are only two schools that have two guidance counsellors, St. Leonard’s Boys and St. George Secondary. One of my primary thrust is working at the primary level to see if we can identify some of the problems that come to us.
“Some of the problems we get at the secondary level comes primarily from the primary schools unresolved and sometimes we don’t get a good profile of the students by which we can properly or quickly assess the situation.
“What I’m looking at is trying to propose if we can get teachers at the primary level who are trained in social work or counselling and who have an interest in that area, being trained in counselling so they can identify the problems early so that remediation can be sought very early to help alleviate some of the problems that come over into the secondary school level,” Leacock said.
He noted that the Association was told that there were not enough funds available to hire additional counsellors or social workers.
There are about 18 or 19 members in the association and 24 counsellors in the 22 secondary schools.
“Guidance Counsellors have to do a whole set of work, whether it be filing, a diary of daily events, the dissemination of application forms whether it be skills training, Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, Barbados Community College, job letters recommendations for summer or Christmas, summer camps or CXC camps, apart from the Health and Family Life Education programme they’re responsible for, programme planning …,” said the president.
The other members of the associations’ Executive Committee are: Vice President, Janice Jemmott; Secretary, Shawna Carter; Treasurer, Julia Edey; Assistant Secretary-Treasurer Shernell Belle-Alexander; Floor Members Margaret Grant and Jenifer Goodridge. (DS)