Thriving School Psych Thriving Students

The Reveal.

During March Madness, my sports aficionado husband was all over watching the college basketball games. I lost interest after my itty bitty alma matter from undergrad, University of Northern Colorado got knocked out in the first round and my grad school alma matter, UC Berkeley was nowhere to be seen. I did have a little interest in picking the final four based upon my favorite mascots. I have a husky mix dog, so I did quite well in my predictions.

During this time period, husband and I had a nice agreement that we would have a balanced evening television routine, and we got to also watch the Do-it-Yourself Channel’s “Mulch Madness” series as well. I became slightly obsessed with Yard Crashers, in which a lovely man comes up to people in home stores and offers to redo their whole yard in a weekend. Husband I and look for this guy every time we are at OSH or the Home Depot. Where is he? I have some major yard needs and no time. Unfortunately, the guy is nowhere in sight, so we are on our own.

Last weekend, I started my weeding and planter box project I meant to start in 2010 and it was so therapeutic. In the DIY shows, they are big on “The Reveal”—when they show the homeowners the final product. In truth, I’m not sure how this falls under “doing it yourself,” as I always see a team of a dozen or so professionals doing all the work and then voila! Here’s your perfect yard in a half an hour! My planter box project, however, was truly DIY, and I got to do “The Reveal” with my husband, and it looks great. I was so friggin’ pleased with myself, you would have thought I won the final four of gardening.

Later, I thought about why it was so satisfying to me, and I realized that it is because my work as a school psychologist is the opposite of that. I spend my days digging out weeds of negative influence on kids, teaching gardeners how to take care of my students, planting seeds of ideas, and waiting. Then waiting. Then more planting, more teaching, and more weeding. And waiting. I don’t get to see The Reveal that often. I wish I could fix up a kiddo in my office, then present him or her back into the classroom, all prettied up and blooming, academically, behaviorally, and emotionally. Voila! All better!*

In reality, I just have to trust that all the ugly demolition of old ideas phase, and the replanting phase will eventually come to fruition and that no one will stomp on my student’s new seeds of ideas about how to change for the better. Sometimes, I just wish it was easier, and I could storm into a classroom, ala Yard Crashers, with my tv crew and team of professionals, pluck a kid out to fix in a weekend, and everyone would be happy with the final product. Until then, I will just have to keep planting, waiting, nurturing, and having faith in the process.

*I had an intern once who wanted to go into school psychology because as she said, she had a “fix it personality.” I tried not to squash her dreams, not at least until second semester. At her final evaluation, I told her that a “fix it personality” may be a double edged sword, because we don’t really have the power to “fix” all kids. She said, “Okay! I’ll fix that about my personality!” I loved the enthusiasm. I hope she is doing well in our field…

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Comments on The Reveal.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wouldn't it be great to have a reality series in which the school psychologist crashes in the classroom and picks a kid to be fixed and starts doing it. I was thinking it wouldn't be interesting to a mass audience but then again they already do the Nanny/Supernanny and the A&E cop show 48 hours. And for a chunk of money there might be parents and kids who would permit it and be willing to endure the potential notoriety. On the other hand school psychs already have more requests for services than we can easily deal with.

  2. Sioux says:

    What a great connection between your DIY project and your students. It IS frustrating when you see what kind of blossoms kids could branch out into, except for this obstacle and that obstacle and of course, that other obstacle…

  3. Dr. Tonya says:

    I think the other connection is this… During your reveal, I'm sure your hubby or even your neighbors will pat you on the back and say "great job" or some other version of positive praise for your efforts. When in school do we hear anything positive whatsoever about our efforts? We are always called upon to put out fires…but never hear anything "good" about what we do for students, staff, families, and the schools we work in (at least I don't).

    I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment though (pardon the pun). So many times, as I write recs for my reports, I wonder how many of them will actually be implemented, if follow-thru will ever take place, etc. Wondering, always, what happens to these kiddos once they leave your office an all meetings have been finalized. *sigh*

  4. Wouldn't it be nice if all problems could be solved in one hour like the Yard Crashers show? Parents sometimes expect those kinds of results when they send their kids to counseling. They don't always understand that it can take a long time of planting seeds before they see the "blooms," and then the blooms may not be as picture perfect as they had imagined.

  5. LearnMe says:

    Oh, the ubiquitous DIY project. I'm glad yours worked out well, as my most recent DIY's have been disasters. Found you on the teacherrevised blog and thought you might be interested in my blog:

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