Carpool Duty as a Counselor

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As school counselors, sometimes we are asked {or told} to do things that are outside of our roles as counselors, such as coordinating standardized tests and monitoring the cafeteria at lunch time. I am SO grateful that 90% of what I do is actually related to counseling, but I still have a few tasks in that remaining 10% that should not be a job of the school counselor, and one of those tasks is carpool duty.

All faculty members have some sort of dismissal duty at my school. Most have a line of students they check off of their lists and dismiss. Some are “sweepers” who make sure the halls are cleared at the end of the day. A select few of us get to do carpool duty EVERY SINGLE AFTERNOON {hooray?}. At first I hated carpool duty. It’s not as much of a dual role as substitute teaching a class, but in my head, I grouped it with having recess or lunch duty – not roles school counselors should take on. Having this duty also means that I can’t schedule any parent meetings immediately after school, which is simply an inconvenience, but nothing horrible.

How I changed my mindset about carpool duty:

Even though it can be an annoyance sometimes, I’ve come to love carpool duty because I can use that time to connect with my students and check in with parents. The way carpool works at my school is that each teacher {or counselor in my case} has a station. As the kids’ names are called, they go to a designated faculty member who puts them in the cars. Basically, it’s a lot like lining up for Disney World rides. Normally there is at least time to quickly check in with a student before the car pulls up, so I try to connect with every student who is assigned to me before opening the car door. Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking how their day has been, but just by sparking that conversation, it typically opens the door for students to ask to make an appointment with me or to share good news, bad news, and anything in between. I’ve also had parents ask me questions, request meetings, and tell me significant life events in that short span of time between me helping the child in the car and them driving off. Carpool duty gives me another opportunity to be visible on campus.


I am a strong believer that a school counselor needs to be visible in a school. I know there are times we just want to stay in our offices and catch up on paperwork in those rare instances we’re not seeing a student or meeting with a parent. Trust me, I understand that feeling. As difficult as it may be to find that motivation to do a walk-through of the school or to go outside during recess, I’ve found those little things make a big difference. I always see a surge in students asking to see me immediately after presenting my monthly lesson in their classroom. Why? Because they are reminded that I am there. Sometimes students who wouldn’t typically seek me out {but who have a lot of difficulties in their little lives} are brave enough to ask to talk to me if they just happen to see me in the hallway, at recess, or at carpool duty.


Be a presence in your school! Being a school counselor is such an amazing opportunity to help children, and I’ve found that by changing the way I approach carpool duty, I’ve had the opportunity to change even more lives.

*gets off soapbox*


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