Aja Chambers, guidance counselor, Charlottesville High School
Aja Chambers, Guidance Counselor, Charlottesville High School
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
The most challenging aspect of being a school counselor is time. Every day presents something different than the day before, and I have to work hard to prioritize all that I have to do within the school day. I also have to be flexible to the things that are not scheduled and that pop up. Sometimes I feel like if there were just a few more hours in the day, I could see a few more students or talk to a few more teachers about students, or call a parent to give a praise report about their student. I feel like I have a good handle on my time management, but it is a daily juggling act to prioritize. I always have to remind myself that there are 24 hours in a day, and tomorrow I get to pick up where I left off and try and make a difference with the next 24 hours that I am given. 
What is the most common misconception about your job?
I would say defining the role of a school counselor is the most common misconception about my job. Many times I hear people ask, “Do you just work on students’ schedules all day and sit in your office?” School counseling is so much more than schedules. We are responsible for assisting students with their academic, personal/social, and career/college needs. We wear a lot of hats and are also responsible for various other tasks. I spend my time meeting with students about various topics, walking through the halls during class changes to see students, and I may occasionally pop my head into a classroom just to see how they are doing in class. As a school counselor, we are members of the academic team within the schools as well as advocates for our students. Our ultimate goal is to assist in the achievement of all students. 
Where do you see the teaching field in five years?
I see the field of counseling becoming an even more valuable resource in schools. We are still working to define our roles in the schools, and I see us being afforded the opportunity to assist in more areas within the school and community to foster positive relationships with students, parents, and our community. 
What outside experience best prepared you to become an educator?
Prior to receiving my master’s degree in school counseling, I earned my undergraduate degree in communications. I worked in various settings such as a hospital, pharmacy, bank, and then eventually into the school system. I truly believe that my previous job opportunities allowed me to enhance my interpersonal and relationship building skills that I now use daily with students, parents, my colleagues and the community.