Thriving School Psych Thriving Students

Time for Retirement?

Apparently, the shining exuberance generated from a restful spring break has faded to a lackluster flickering light. A few posts ago, I talked about how a well-rested employee is a happy employee. I came down with a little something this week and have been trudging through this week like my feet are in molasses. I did everyone a favor by self-quarantining myself in my office away from potentially infecting others with my sniffle because I’m nice like that. Only now at the end of the week I realized I was doing the opposite of the very same thing I was proselytizing to others to do in my last post: to take care of yourself.

SO I would like to acknowledge how difficult it is to stop the hurried rush to meet deadlines, test students, write reports, do counseling, meet with that parent, do the survey with the teacher, meet the supervisor for the evaluation meeting, go to the new charter school and do an observation, call the hospital to see if a kid has been discharged, call the parent and butcher the Spanish language in the name of a obscenely overdue triennial assessment (e.g. “I have terminated the assessment of your child. Oh, and to you I give the paper of the many questions? You to me bring that paper of the many questions?*) Etc etc.

In retrospect, a day off in the beginning of the week would have made the end of my week less painful. I know I’m feeling run down because of the conversation I had with a colleague Friday. She is retiring at the end of this year. I ran into her and asked her for tips on the state retirement fund because it is so hard to think that far down the road, but I know I should:

Me: Congrats on your retirement! Only a few more months left. Any advice?

Colleague: I would advise going on the state retirement website and putting in how many years of service you have and what age you plan to retire. So you would put in 25 years more of service and…are you okay?

Me: Um, I just threw up in my throat a little thinking about doing this for another 25 years.

Colleague: Rough week?

Me: You could say that I’m running on empty.

Colleague: Please go home now.

And I did. And here’s to resting up this weekend! Sniff, sniff.

*If anyone knows how to say “Rating Scale” or “Behavioral Survey” in Spanish, do let me know!

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Comments on Time for Retirement?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic blog.

    My district recently rolled out a new model in which some school psychs will primarily be interventionists/intervention consultants and others will primarily be evaluators (doing initial and re-evals). I’m hoping that wearing fewer hats will reduce the craziness, and improve our services …

  2. ariane says:

    I could have written that post! Exactly how I feel 🙂 The NYC teacher’s union is having a rally tomorrow to complain about school psychologists’ workloads. Of course, no suggestions on how to lighten the loads, just some really important union people trying to “get those voices heard.” Blah Blah Blah…Sometimes I feel it’s an impossible job to do well with the constraints that we have.

    Wow, and I just came off a weekend! Yikes!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I usually paraphrase it when I’m interviewing parents. I’ll refer to it as a “behavioral or social-emotional questionnaire.” E.G., “Necesito que me conteste esta encuesta o cuestionario relacionado a como se comparta Juanito.” “I need for you to answer this questionnaire relating to how Johnny behaves.” BTW, Scale is “escala.”

  4. @Anon1: We have something similar where schools can “buy” psychologist time. I think that’s key to providing good services at a school site because you can be involved in pre-referral interventions, testing, and post-testing interventions. I’d be interested in how it’s going in your district. Are there enough psychs who want to do testing only?

    @Ariane: Good luck at your rally! I’m surprised your teacher’s union has stepped up to support you. I think that people who don’t understand what school psychs do vs. what we are trained to do simply look at us as a line on the budget that is too expensive. It’s so short sided, because a good prevention program that includes us can save money in special ed costs down the road. But simple logic will get you nowhere in the public school system. Sheesh, it’s only Monday. I’ll try not be be Debbie Downer this week!

    @anon2: THANKS!!!! I mean, gracias!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Your buying time model sounds interesting … it’s funny how much this job differs from district to district in terms of the whole structural/organizational side of things.

    We’ll start the new system next fall for the first time. Surprisingly, a lot of my colleagues prefer to do evals and re-evals only. I’m excited to focus more on intervention (w/out having to compensate by writing evals at home).


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