The present study was to investigate the working situation and stress of junior high school counselors in the Yungho District in New Taipei City. It also aimed to understand the factors which affected to moderate job stress. This qualitative research collected data through semi-structured interviews. By means of purposive sampling, the researcher interviewed six junior high school teachers in the Yungho District in New Taipei City who were or had been counselors more than three years. The results of the research were as follows.
The work of the junior high school counselors in the Yungho District was similar and could be divided into: teaching 14 classes of guidance activities of integrated learning area, leading small groups, preparing lessons, individual interviews, writing case records, caring dropouts, counseling advisors and parents, family interviews, case referral, applying community resources, assisting administrative work, guiding interns, case conferences and so on. The only difference was the content of clerical work. After the reduction of courses, these three junior high schools adopted different corresponding strategies against the limited caseload of counseling teachers resulting from the regulations.
Junior high school counselors in the Yungho District had various job stresses, and more than half of the participants mainly mentioned of role expectations from others, lack of professional competence and clear instruction, and 3-level counseling systems was not carried out. These factors made counselors have to take charge of all three grades, and caused problems about self-expectations, discrimination of roles, overload, and communications with advisors. After the reduction of courses, counselors had to guide small groups and handed in case records and monthly reports, which brought them new sources of job stress.
The moderation of job stress in junior high school counselors in the Yungho District was mainly influenced by working motivations, coping strategies, working experiences and social support systems. More than half of the participants indicated that the basic way to moderate working pressure was to separate work and personal life by exercising and taking enough rest. Besides, to obtain achievement and self-growth from the job, to voluntarily define the role of counselor, and to gain support from the system, were also useful ways to reduce stress taken by most people.
Finally, several suggestions for the references of education authorities, school administration, counselors, and future studies according to the research results.