Sneakery! Again!

It is Friday the 13th. And it marks the end of School Psychology Awareness Week, which I totally forgot was this week, just like last year, and the year before. Gah! Every year! But I suppose today is technically still part of the week, so here you go with a post about what I do all day.

And just to be clear, my job description is NOT, as a janitor described to a kid inquiring who I was: “She works with ‘dem crazy kids.” That will NOT be next year’s theme for School Psychologist Awareness Week. I certainly don’t want to see a poster of that. School Psychologists: We work with ‘dem crazy kids. Bad PR.

So, in the spirit of awareness, I give to you:

Top 10 Things I Do All Day as a School Psychologist
(In decending order of how much time I spend doing it)

10) Tracking down the yoots*, aka poking my head into classrooms and trying not to be disruptive while children yell, “Take me! I need therapy!” or “I a’int no f*ing special ed! No!!!”

9) Tracking down teachers to talk about the yoots, trying to get information from them while they are desperately trying to prepare for having 20-30 little friends come in for some more learning.

8) Tracking down administration to ask about a particular yoot/situation/political issue/bureaucratic hoop.

7) Tracking down parents to get information or give them feedback about their yoot (carefully using caller ID blocking so they answer)

6) Group counseling. Trying to promote positive social skills and not accidentally forming a gang.

5) Individual counseling. Topics include: “What were you thinking about when you drew this/said that/did that/brought that,” family problems, peer problems, learning problems, check-ins about traumatic situations, and my favorite: giving positive adult attention and conducting play therapy to process situations.

4) Testing or observing the yoots for every possible reason on Earth that they are having a hard time learning—social, emotional, behavioral, processing, intelligence, situational, inter-personal, historical—everything.

3) Writing reports about yoots that no one reads, but are really informative if you can get past the technical stuff.

2) Attending meetings about yoots to share results of testing in a way everyone can understand to develop interventions.

1) Lovin’ working with ‘dem crazy kids.

Happy School Psychologist Awareness Week!

If I were fancier, I would have some sort of animation that made little confetti fall down over this entry. Maybe next year…if I don’t forget.

* Yoots (noun). Slang for “youth” derived from obscure reference to the classic film, “My Cousin Vinny.” The two yoots were seen fleeing the scene.

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Comments on Sneakery! Again!

  1. Kelley says:

    So you spend the most time tracking down students or attending meetings? During my years as a school psyc my top two time wasters/err..I mean time-consuming activities were attending meetings and testing. I like that you have more balance in your practice, but your adviser would note the conspicuous lack of the word "consultation." Is that in your educational jargon post?

  2. Rebecca says:

    Tracking down, consultation, potayto, potahto… 🙂

  3. maheen says:

    Hi Rebecca,

    Great blog! I am a school psychologist in the outskirts of Toronto, Canada. Just a quick question – when you are doing classroom observations, do you use a structured method or just observation? I haven't found one that I love and would appreciate any input from you!

  4. Rebecca says:

    Hi Maheen,

    Welcome to the blog. 🙂 I have a semi-structured observation form so I can get both qualitative and quantitative data. I start out with ecological/classroom factors from a global perspective (e.g. how the teacher uses positive reinforcement, redirection). Then I describe the content of the lesson and the kids' behavior. If the referral question is about attention, then I do a time-sampling of on-task and off-task behavior with the student and a comparison peer (to see if the kid's behavior is out of the norm for the classroom context). Then, I observe the kid in an unstructured setting. Lastly, I jot down all of the strategies that were useful for the kid. Believe it or not, it is a one pager. 🙂

    If I were fancy and knew how to do it, I'd post it on the blog for people to download. Any fancy people out there know how to do that?

  5. Michaele says:

    Tracking down- is that how school psychs are supposed to do it? Whoops, no wonder *our* psych gets this strange look on her face when I 1) knock on her door or 2) tackle her to the floor in the hallway in order to get info about my wee-ones!

    I've been doing it all wrong.

    Apologies! 🙂

    Drop by, I'm having a giveaway to celebrate my 600th (oh yes, 6-0-0th) blog post!

  6. Corinne says:

    Hi Rebecca,
    I am a college student studying Early Childhood! This is my first time blogging, and I am so excited, I think I will gain a lot of useful information by doing so. Just from reading your blog I can see how enthusiastic you are about working with your yoots! I have been trying to decide exactly what direction I want to go with education. It has always been my desire to work with young children. I believe I want to teach for a few years but then would like to work as a Guidance Counselor. I really like to work with children in small groups or on an individual basis. As a Guidance Counselor what is your favorite part of your job? Do you have children in and out of your office all day? I think that I may have some misconceptions about this profession. I would like to work with troubled children. My interest is primarily in family studies and emotional and psychological problems. I am afraid that I will not get to interact with students as much as I would like. On your daily agenda you seem to spend a lot of time away from the children. Do have any recommendations or words of wisdom? You seem like an experienced and knowledgeable individual, and an advice would be appreciated. 🙂

  7. Rebecca says:

    @Corinne: Much of my day IS spent consulting with others about kids, versus seeing kids all day long in sessions. I see about 4-5 kids individually every day (testing or counseling) and the rest of the time is mostly consulting with parents and teachers about how to help the student.

    A school psychologist has a role that is traditionally testing kids to see if they are eligible for special education. Counseling is a part of that, but the way the field is now, it is mostly testing, consulting, and crisis intervention. The time we have for direct counseling varies tremendously by school site and district resources. I do feel like I have a good balance of kid-time and other-time though, so don't let my post about hunting down people all day deter you! 🙂

  8. Debra says:

    Rebecca,

    I really enjoy your blog! I'm currently a 2nd year MA/ED.S student at Sacramento State and I came across your blog when googling info on the TAPS-3 for my psych report. I definitely agree with your thoughts on the Auditory Cohesion subtests, haha.

    Very entertaining and informative!

    Debra

  9. pre-teacher says:

    hi I am also currently a early childhood major and have an interest in psychology. I was wondering what activities I can do in the class to learn more about the child/ know if they should be reffered to a guidance counslor?

  10. Rebecca says:

    @Pre-teacher–

    In general, I think the kids who need counseling tend to "pop" up in terms of demeanor (seeming sad or worried) or in behavior (acting out).You also want to think about referring any kid who is going through a major transition (such as a divorce, loss of family member). As for activities, it depends on the child's age. I am a fan of drawing as an activity, and have received a number of kids in my office because they drew crying pictures all the time.

    Your best source though is the parents for informing you if their child is going through something that requires intervention. It sounds like you are already in-tune with your students, so building relationships with the kids and parents will go a long way to knowing when they need more support.

  11. superdeens says:

    Love the "yoots." I recognized that the minute I read it. Like a poo' baby dear, kawt in the headlights. BAM!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I'm a new reader to your blog, and I love it! I'm finishing my fourth year as a school psych and beginning to feel a bit burnt out…too much traditional stuff (I hear you on the reports that no one reads stuff!) and I've struggled with expanding my role. I will keep reading to keep my sense of humor about my job! Oh, and I laugh every time you write "yoots" because I think of that movie! (Not obscure to me…)

    Kristin

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