Not all who teach students are in the classroom. School counselors, such as Edwardsville High School’s Chung Baker, are among those school personnel who are making a difference in the lives of students outside of instruction.
Baker is in her 28th year with District 7 after first beginning her career in education as a physical education teacher at what is now Lincoln Middle School, when it was originally the high school.
“When I thought about what else I could do to extend my career in education without teaching, and knowing I didn’t want to go into administration, counseling seemed like an easy transition.”
Baker always knew she wanted to go into education. Having been afforded the opportunity to have an education in the US as a first-generation immigrant at age five and having to learn English, she said it is education that has made her who she is.
“Education is priceless. And in my own way I just wanted to pay it forward.”
And she believes having a teaching background has been beneficial to her role as a school counselor.
“It gives you a better sense of where things stem from sometimes and how it all interrelates with other roles in the building.”
As a school counselor, and even when she was teaching PE, Baker says the best part of her job is the students.
“Through the many years of working with students and their families, I’ve felt very lucky and believe I’ve been able to make a difference in their lives.”
Baker said her role as a school counselor affords her the opportunity to have that one-on-one relationship that does not always come with being in the classroom.
“I feel like I have the true essence of that student and who they are. You establish that rapport and work with them for four years and really do grow together. It’s been the most rewarding experience as I enjoy helping young adults navigate their high school years while guiding them as they pursue their future plans.”