Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Things to be thankful for...

IVery often as public educators when we talk about our jobs, it's not in the fondest of terms. One would think we're not happy with what we do, but I know for the majority of us, we really do love our jobs. Are we all thankful for our jobs? I'm going to step out on the ledge and say yes, because in light of all the people we  interract with at work and in life, our jobs ground us in ways many things in life cannot. I am thankful for my job as a school psychologist because:

1. It pays my bills 

2. It's incredibly rewarding

3. It's one I specifically chose to do

4. It's appreciated 

5. It's needed 

I list those in no particular order simply because each point I made is more or less relevant each day. 

Today as I prepare for the nationwide day of thanksgiving, I would be remiss not to note that I am truly grateful for what I do! 

Happy thanksgiving my school psych peeps!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's right about that time

It's November 13th and Thanksgiving break is only a few days away and I'm annoyed. It's the time of year where the constant holiday interruptions make it difficult to get into a testing rhythm. My November calendar has been shot to shreds by intermittent days off and suddenly my testing deadlines are casting ominous shadows over me. 

This is also the time of year when I start using sick days as the change in elements starts to test for weakness in all our immune systems. So that just adds more insult to injury. I've already been called home twice for a child throwing up. Now the heat's on in my house and I have to fear the dreaded cold/flu season.   I would like to say as a school psych parent I'm at a disadvantage, having harborers of disease in my home, but I've come to realize there's no advantage or disadvantage to be had. As a parent, my sick days are for when my kids get sick. My school psych friends with no children  use their sick days because they're the ones getting sick! I've built up an immunity it appears over the years to little kid cooties. 

It's all well and good for now. I'm ahead of my testing schedule - I repeat for now, but I can feel the build up of stress and aggravation. I woke up with a headache this morning and I can feel it in my bones, it's going to be one of those days. Here's to making it to Christmas break same and sound! 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Silencing my inner critic

In an attempt to keep my promise to myself to keep blogging, I'm firing off a post I wrote back in March 2014, but never posted. Based on how it reads, I was probably too tired to post it. But it's a good one and I thought I'd share!

Being a school psychologist and a parent is wicked tough. And I'm going to step out on a branch and say it's tougher than  being an average person being a parent. Why? Well because the "judgey" voice in your head that regularly belittles your parenting skills is awfully well-educated! 

Today is one of the those days when my school-psych "shaming voice" is on full blast. My boys have been in front of some electronic device since 8am this morning and it's only been since 8am because the house rule of "no electronics till 8 am" is now part of their DNA. I hammered the sucker in there. So between the television, the xbox, our (parents) old iPhones, my iPad, my daughter's nook and a Nintendo DS, these boys met and raised their radiation caps to new levels. The only reason I didn't list computer is because I am using my computer for work. I won't bore you with my reasons for not getting my children their own computer, suffice it to say, if and when they need to use a computer for school work, I make mine available for them to use. If they just want to play games, there are ample electronic play things in my house for them to entertain themselves (go back three sentences).

After fielding off requests for my computer, breaking up two fights about minecraft, and mediating a heated discussion of what to watch on TV all by 10 am, the well-informed school psych voice decided to chime in and let me know how I was failing my children yet again. I was not -

1. Encouraging my children to read instead of using electronics. After all reading fluency won't improve if the boys aren't actually reading.

2. Engaging in active play with my children like all literature purports that parents do.

3. Actively monitoring my children's electronic game play. Playing the xbox in the basement while I was upstairs is not the recommended way to monitor your child's electronic activity.

4. Engaging my children in rich cultural activities like going to the zoo or the local children's museum. That's what weekends are meant for!

And on and on and on the voice prattled in my head until finally at 1pm, I passed out on the couch. I napped, in the daytime, with my children within calling distance. It was nirvana! When I woke up from my glorious nap, I realized that I had a way to silence the voice in my head - evidence based data

First piece of data - my nap! I was tired, duh! But why was I tired? I was tired because for the past 5 days, I was caring for sick children and trying to catch up on work. All my children fell prey to this crazy vicious virus that is currently making its rounds through the school system of my town. Flu-like symptoms but no flu. Both boys had it and today my daughter is currently laying in bed dealing with it. I've been operating on 4 hours of sleep daily this week. I've been up in the wee hours of the morning dealing with the groans of ailing children, writing reports since I've not been at school to test and keeping the house relatively germ-free since neither my husband or I could afford to be sick. 

Second piece of data - today was not the norm. A look at my historical behavior shows that although my rules about electronics are lax on the weekends, even this level of electronic access is not the norm. After a couple of hours, everything goes off and then there are books and puzzles and outdoor play that ensues. Today, I just didn't care to fight the initial fight of going into electronic blackout. I was spent. But a funny thing happened right around the time I decided to take a nap. My oldest son decided to go ride his bike around the neighborhood looking for friends to play with. Unfortunately all of them were home with the flu, but he just kept riding till hunger and rain brought him back home 3 hours later. My younger son decided to go play with his Legos and spent about an hour just playing and building. Then he played with his action figures, then he decided I needed to read him a book. All of this non-electronic activity occurred with no prompting from me. 

That's another piece of data - boredom. The children got bored with the electronics and turned to other alternatives, ones that we considered healthier and more stimulating.

All in all a good day.  My inner critic was silenced.. . For now. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kids need to move.

Image from Varier furniture
 I've lost count of how many times I've mentioned to parents, teachers and peers that children cannot be expected to sit completely still all school day long.  When I'm called into a classroom to conduct an observation of a student, not only am I conducting an observation of another typical peer, but I am also conducting an observation of the teacher. I note how many times the teacher moves across the room, how many sips of water the teacher takes in between talking, how many times the teacher changes the position of his/her body in response to some stimulus in the class.  I've found that the teachers who have the most successful students and come to me with the least amount of concerns are the teachers who let their students move.

Monday, October 20, 2014

What bores you?


Sitting in a meeting where I am not a stakeholder bores the living daylights out of me! These are the meetings that I am invited as a the school psychologist to fill a slot - not because I have anything to give, but because I bear the mantle of school psychologist. 

Have you ever sat in one of those meetings where nothing seems to be happening and everything around you is just devoid of refreshment. There are the meetings when even the words coming out of your own mouth are dusty and dead.

Those are the meetings I look like this on the outside

but I really feel like this

These are the meetings I hate, because I get bored. And when I'm bored, there is absolutely nothing more painful than trying to stay attentive.  I look out the window, count the teeth I can see in the mouth of the person speaking, balance my budget, plan out my week at home and in school, think of what I am going to make for dinner, think about what I actually want for dinner, think of everything I'd rather be doing than sitting in this boring dry, absolutely meaningless meeting!

Has that ever happened to you?  

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