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March 18, 2006

Great moments in high school counseling

Sometimes it's useful to recall that things were just as bad 20 years ago. Here's a letter from today's "Ask Amy" advice column, pointed out to me by Mrs. Attila, who looks for these things to use with her Russian ESOL students.

Dear Amy:

In a recent column you printed the story of a young girl who was helped by her school counselor. I applaud that counselor and am glad to hear that she received the help she needed.

Early in my senior year of high school, I was summoned to my counselor's office to discuss my future. She asked me what type of job I'd like to have after college.

I had no idea. I told her that I wanted to work at night (I'm not a morning person), have fun at my job and make good money.

In what appeared to be all seriousness, she told me I was an ideal candidate to become a prostitute.

I sat there in shock.

Perhaps she was using sarcasm (lost on a 17-year-old), but after a minute of silence, she ushered me out of her office and welcomed in the next student eager for her "advice."

Twenty years have passed and I've never forgotten her words.

I am so thankful to hear that there are counselors who not only take their job seriously but who even go out of their way to help students.

Thank you for reminding those of us with less-than-stellar experiences of that.

Teacher in Virginia
Amy's answer, on behalf of us all, begins, "Oh. My. God."

Do you think that if, instead, the writer had told the counselor she wanted to work all day, the counselor would have recommended becoming a lumberjack?