The Role of Guidance Counselors at Tech

by Michelle Lam ’15

Roaming in long, grey tiled hallways. Rushing to classes of teachers who see hundreds of students a day. Feeling lost in a sea of what may seem like a bajillion kids.

These seemingly trivial aspects are what pile up one by one, making the Tech experience seem daunting, even scary, at first thought.

“It’s hectic,” says Michael Li of ‘15. “Especially when everyone rushes to the elevator. It makes me feel compact, closed in.”

With a student population that will only grow larger, staying in Tech feels more like a bustling marketplace than an ideal place for students to study and mingle. Not to mention that the student-to-teacher ratio is 22 to 1; there is only so much guidance a student can receive from an adult.

“Students need,” emphasizes Mr. Ventura, a school counselor, “additional types of support in many different ways. Often times they won’t come to you personally for whatever reasons but it’s important for you to go to them.”

The supposed source of guidance offered by the school, guidance counselors, can’t help each student individually in the face of such a large student body. As a result, some students feel uncomfortable sharing their problems with their counselor and look for an alternative teacher instead.

“It’ll be good,” Mr. Ventura says, “for teachers to step out of the classroom, the academic space, so that students can see teachers from a different point of view.”

“Talking to my guidance counselor isn’t as comfortable as talking to one of my regular teachers,” Anita Guan of ‘15 shares. “I have come to terms that speaking to guidance counselors is strictly academic rather than a comfortable day-to-day conversation.”

Some have a more optimistic point of view: “There are times when I feel extremely lost,” admits Jessica Fung of ‘16. “There’s a north, west, east, south. The building’s more like a compass than a school! A confusing one too. But I think there is still a lot to look forward to.”

However, there are ways of alleviating this disparity and drabness: when students walk into the building in the mornings, the first thing they see is a huge lobby with a large, historic mural painted on the walls. This is just one of many showcases of sculptures and models placed to create a homely, welcoming atmosphere.

“Hallways could always use more posters,” says Brian Chong of ‘17. “On some floors, there are bulletin boards with colorful posters. On others, the walls are empty which emphasizes the grey tiled walls.”

In addition to decorations, Mr. Ventura also suggests, “I plan to have a time after school where I can talk to students a little about me and my responsibility and what is my commitment is to them. It’s for me to get to know them and for them to ask me questions—sort of like a panel style discussion but with my entire prefect.”

There will always be a need for changes, especially for the growing student population in Tech. However, with the existing friendly faculty and different ideas circulating among students, Tech will surely be a welcoming place for all.

 

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