Induction Experiences of Novice School Counselors in Small School Districts
Formalized induction experiences provide guidance to professionals who are new to their jobs. These experiences are as essential for novice school counselors as for any other profession. The purpose of this study was to provide insight into the into the existing induction practices available to novice school counselors in small school districts in Texas. Using a phenomenological approach, this study provided rich descriptions of school counselors who described their first year of experience in small school districts. Utilizing the video conferencing software Zoom, semi-structured interviews were conducted with five school counselors in their third year of service. The interview questions focused on the participants' first year of service. Analysis of the transcripts of the interviews commenced with a line-by-line review of the statements. Those statements were grouped first into categories, and then into themes. Themes that emerged were Initial Hopes and Aspirations, Facing Challenges, and Finding Resiliency. Careful consideration of the data showed that novice school counselors in small school districts did not receive formal induction activities. The participants struggled with role ambiguity during their first days on the job. Moreover, they received little direct support from their school administrators. Recommendations made included additional training for school administration on the comprehensive counseling program, limiting non-counseling duties to decrease the time that school counselors spend working outside of normal school hours, and the introduction of a school counselor academy which may be provided by local educational service centers.