Community-based therapists are based in the community as opposed to specifically a school — so, in clinics, homes, hospitals, or other community settings. They’ve governed by state or federal guidelines that focus on broad medical need for someone to function at home or in the community, whereas school services are appropriated based on functioning specifically in school and guided by a different set of laws and guidelines.
My position is referred to by some organizations or guidelines as “in-home” or “home-based” therapist, but I work with children in families in whatever settings in which the family and kiddos state they need assistance. I’ve worked with children and families in their homes, in schools, in a shelter setting, in afterschool settings, in day cares, even on community outings to stores or activities.
May I ask what this bit on your last post means? "(And if you’re looking to apply, PLEASE come join our ranks.)" I was not aware that there was some kind of shortage of community based therapists and the prospect is exciting if that is what is being implied.
Job outlooks in general for a variety of counseling careers are expected to grow faster than average. In particular, there are many states that provide an array of home-based counseling services for children and families, not through DCF caseworkers but through Medicaid. My understanding is that (similar to some caseworker positions through DCF, especially involving home visits) there tends to be a consistently high need due in part to a high turnover rate and in part due, thankfully, to continuing expansion of availability of these services. Organizations in our area have frequently had to create waitlists as they expand staff to take on more cases.
I hope that helps! I’d be happy to talk more about it if you have more questions.
Excuse me what is your job? Also, where can I apply?
I work with kids who have problems too big for office-based therapy alone. This is something I did purely for my own entertainment that just happened to be a big hit with the family I used it with, too! On some days I’m doing therapeutic crafts or talking and other days I’m getting sworn at, told to die and/or being directly threatened with physical harm, or watching kids and adults alike fall apart at the seams.
I’m a community-based therapist and I wouldn’t change a thing other than the fact that I’m needed at all.
(And if you’re looking to apply, PLEASE come join our ranks.)
This one is going up a little late, but all it takes it a trip to the dollar store and about fifteen minutes to set up. This activity is not age-limited — it can be adjusted by adding pictures or more complex feelings, or even by giving scenarios instead of feelings and having kids talk about them in reverse. It’s not only good for socioemotional learning for therapists, counselors, or teachers, but could also be used as a creative writing activity (or art if you’re working on drawing expressions, body language, etc).
What You’ll Need
Plastic eggs, available at most stores for cheap (mine are from Dollar Tree, tiny plain ones in a 24-pack and the larger patterened ones in what I think was a 12-pack but a few were lost in my car)
Paper strips (above are cut-up index cards for durability)
List of feeling words (balanced between + and - is best)
Baskets or other containers for collection (optional)
Print and paste or handwrite feeling words (and faces, if necessary, or possible scenarios for higher-level activity) onto strips. Fold up strips and place in eggs.
If weather permits, this is a great outdoors activity — unfortunately, today it’s raining and we’ll be doing it indoors instead. Explain to your kids (students, clients, etc., and guardians if applicable) that you’re going on an egg hunt, and (if appropriate — i.e. if they’ll understand that it’s a game rather than reality) these eggs, just like them, have feelings that they’ll be able to relate to.
Depending on your kids, you may want to give a limit (everyone try to find five, etc.) to be sure it’s more or less even.
When everyone has collected their eggs, sit in a circle and have each participant open one egg and read what the egg is feeling. Have the participant respond, “I’ve felt like that too! I felt ___ when…” and give an example of a time when they felt the same way. (If doing the higher-level activity, have participants instead read the scenario their egg is in, state how they think they would feel if they were the egg, and brainstorm some ways to respond; this can also be a group activity.) Continue until nobody has any eggs left.
Close out the activity by asking participants which egg was the most challenging, and which was their favorite. In a formal setting the latter could be done with a coloring activity and/or augmented by having participants create their own egg with a feeling and a scenario.
If you want to be really goofy about it, I would absolutely give every single egg a ridiculous egg-themed name, whether on the paper slip or in marker on the outside. If I didn’t have to reuse mine, the sharpie would be coming out to label Eggbert, Eggwina, Shelldon, Shelly, etc… On a serious note, adding a name adds an additional supportive, scripted conversation piece — “It’s okay, Fry, I feel that way sometimes, too. Once time…” “That’s awesome, Scrambella! I…”
it’s funny because it’s called the “lgbt day of silence” and therefore is not supportive to the rest of the queer community and actually kind of serves to continue their silence it’s also funny because we don’t need more silence regarding queer issues we need to be loud about them we need everyone to be educated and informed and angry
a lot of people I know became more educated about lgbtqa issues because they saw people participating in the day of silence
there’s a lot of noise in today’s world and having one of your friends suddenly go a day without talking to you makes you ask questions that you’re suddenly on your own motivated to find the answers to
yes, we need noise. we need education and information. passion. but sometimes going from one extreme to the other can be just as noticeable as the loudest shout.
When we did the DoS at my high school and then when I brought it to my college we presented it to whatever classes any individuals participating happened to be taking that day as, “For every one person silent today, last year: ___ lesbian, gay, or bisexual youth and ___ trans* youth are silenced by violence; ___ lesbian, gay, or bisexual youth and ___ trans youth are silenced by death; ___ lesbian, gay, or bisexual youth and ___ trans* youth were silenced by suicide; and it all started with ___ lesbian, gay, or bisexual youth and ___ trans* youth silenced by slurs and other bullying.
Your words matter. So does your silence. You can help stop it.”
With information about the breaking the silence meeting, ways to be an ally, where to pick up literature prepared ahead of time, etc.
It should be noted — when I was in high school, queer was still a word in that particular place and time being used primarily as a slur. Also, this all became more sophisticated year after year, in high school I had extracurricular coursework in advertising and media and getting messages across, and by college I knew to/was able to plan things out and be thoughtful in a very different way having done this multiple times.
When done right, DoS can be informative and empowering. When done poorly it can be fodder for harrassment and feelings of helplessness. But let’s acknowledge its strengths as a VEHICLE, a CONVERSATION STARTER, for the education and information that we want to share.
“In 1979, when the minimum wage was $2.90, a hard-working student with a minimum-wage job could earn enough in one day (8.44 hours) to pay for one academic credit hour. If a standard course load for one semester consisted of maybe 12 credit hours, the semester’s tuition could be covered by just over two weeks of full-time minimum wage work—or a month of part-time work. A summer spent scooping ice cream or flipping burgers could pay for an MSU education. The cost of an MSU credit hour has multiplied since 1979. So has the federal minimum wage. But today, it takes 60 hours of minimum-wage work to pay off a single credit hour, which was priced at $428.75 for the fall semester.”—
A student told me my class was boring and that we don’t do anything new.
Meanwhile, we do assorted activities at least 2-3 days a week. Twitters, diagrams, charts, writing.
I try to hold discussions but none of the students communicate in this class. My ninth grade standard kids can debate about character choices in Midsummer Night’s Dream, but this college prep course won’t even answer a question.
She said she wished she had the other 10th grade teacher.
How do I deal with this?
I’ve been working through something similar lately, and I’m not sure there’s an easy answer. It’s too simplistic to caution not to take offense — the craft of teaching is inherently personal, because everything that happens in our rooms from bell to bell is ours, of our time and mind and creation. I will not caution you not to take it personally; it is personal.
If you can find it within yourself to explore further, to expose further vulnerabilities, you might find the answers you need. Ask her questions. Something like, “I hear what you’re saying. It sounds to me like you don’t feel challenged. Is that what you meant? I feel that I am providing you opportunities, but I don’t want you to feel this way about my class. Do you have any ideas about how I can make it better?”
Let her think. If she doesn’t have any immediate answers, ask her to consider it over night and check back in the next day. Definitely check back in.
Because honestly? It sounds like she’s disengaged with her own learning and while the comments were personal, it might not be about you. This exploration of her intentions on your part wouldn’t just be to find the answer; it’s about relationship building. It’s about finding a way to connect to the student and allowing the student to find a way to connect to you and, through you, the content and the class itself. Maybe she just wants to know she’s heard, that someone is listening.
And also? Thank you. In responding to this question of yours, I’ve answered my own. I’ve struggled the last weeks, with finding a way to connect to my own student again, and I’ve just stumbled across it via the last paragraph I typed above.
[I just gave myself goosebumps.]
Ooooh that last paragraph.
I had a boy yesterday tell me that he hates art, my class sucks, and it doesn’t matter if he fails art because all he needs is ELA and math.
You totally got me with the last paragraph. This. boy. is. angry.
He needs somebody to let that anger out on. He’s most likely (based on his assessment scores in ELA and Math) going to fail the year.
It really isn’t about me, but dayummm it still stings. Today, I stopped him on his usual laps around my room and told him explicitly that I didn’t take it personal, but he does have to be in art. He doesn’t need to enjoy the subject (that’s his choice), but he still has to do the work.
If it makes you all feel any better (or add to the sense of camaraderie), I’ve had kids tell me that I’m useless, that I’m bad at what I do, that they hate me, that they don’t need or want me there, that I’m stupid, and that I should go [expletive] off/myself/other people.
Last week I also had a little friend tell me I should kill myself.
Granted I work with children with mental health and behavior disturbances and on some level expect at least some of this on a more regular basis, but more often than not I find that on some level it’s about everything else going on with the kids coming out sideways.
The Lego Movie is a beautiful love-song to play therapy and I wonder if they know it.
But seriously, go see it.
I can’t explain why it is, but it is. Just see it.
(Also, myself and a friend a decade my senior saw it and we and the other adults all seemed to have bigger reactions than any of the kids did. I’m sure there were at least a couple little ones embarrassed by their parents.)
There a few teacher Facebook groups that follow the #education tag, apparently. We saw one about a year ago where all the promoted posts were re-posted onto that group. This week I came across another after seeing a post shared a few times where it eventually made its…
Don’t forget that you still have the right to demand work be removed!
Facebook’s legal terms clearly state in Section 5 parts 1 & 2 that they have the right to remove any content that infringes on someone else’s rights- Posting screenshots of someone else’s work may seem like a gray area… but Facebook tends to lean on the side of caution in that regard.
Any original writing is protected by copyright law. Period.
WeAreTeachers needs to learn some boundaries.
Preach, msleah. File under: things that are not cool.
I sent a fanmail to the account asking that they ask permission before screenshooting, with the explanation that some tumblr writers don’t have already nor do they want that size of readership. Extending that courtesy would be easier than reporting the posts for copyright infringement.
Jbizz, I don’t know if you gave the okay for your post to be on there but they’ve got a screenshot and linkback on March 7.
Itsssnix, March 5.
I don’t know wjrabosky, but there’s a repost that includes photos of their students in it, January 21, which I feel needs a shout out just in case they don’t want them on facebook even if faces aren’t showing.
Naaaahhhhh. After 62K+ people it was bound to happen.
I actually had one student tell me my blog wasn’t that…
If you’d regret your students finding your tumblr, YOU SHOULDN’T BE POSTING THINGS ON THE INTERNET.
I’m looking at you, young teachers or teachers in training who post pictures of themselves drinking and/or drunk posting. It’s a really quick way of losing your job/never getting one.
::goes back through posts and privates all pictures and personal posts::
But then gets pissed about the double standard we have about teachers. Teacher aren’t human. Teachers do it for the kids so we bank on the kindness of their heart rather than supporting them. We expect the school marm from 100 years ago and reject the colorful lives that teachers can have. That’s not fair.
Yes, I’ll go back and private, but I’m doing nothing illegal. My job shouldn’t depend on my personal blog. WHICH, AT TIMES HIGHLIGHTS EDUCATION.
Is it terrible that I’m just not afraid? If anybody wants my job that badly… go ahead, have it.
Let the older generation judge me.
Disagree, disagree, and disagree with the bolded above. There are many reasons why students, parents, administration could react badly to something posted, and those things that are posted that could be reacted to are not confined to drunk-posting. I believe that things are far more complicated than that.
Teachers and other youth-involved workers, but especially teachers, can be skewered and admonished for having opinions, for enjoying movies or tv shows that have content someone objects to, for being friends with someone who engages in activities that someone may view as unteacherly, for having or getting tattoos or piercings, for being in the same photo over a quiet dinner as an alcoholic beverage, for being remotely political, for being gender-variant or having a same-sex partner, for any number of things. Just because a student or parent or administrator would react badly to something doesn’t mean that person has no business posting it on the internet.
I propose a modified warning: if you’d regret your students finding your tumblr, make sure it is absolutely untraceable back to you.
To tell a person that they aren’t allowed to have a personal life in public because they are in a certain is, I think, unfair to that person and demeaning of them as an individual with tastes and thoughts and opinions and beliefs.
Strengths-based. Positive. We try not to say “problem.”
But right no w part of the issue is a parent who is so passive they are actually veering more toward apathetic. It’s beyond not putting their foot down in terms of discipline — they don’t follow through with processes to get the household basic needs and assistance even when they have help for all but the last piece of the process, they have no desire to be involved with the school but at the same time will not say no to suggestions of going to parent-geared activities or connecting with seeing grades on the computer. They just won’t say yes either.
Their entire demeanor could be reduced to a shrug, but they voice wanting to keep everyone together with strong feelings…sometimes. They say they feel they have no support system when other providers described to us how they have offered and given numerous supports in numerous circumstances.
Maybe part of this is learned helplessness. Maybe part is depression, though we aren’t privy to the parent’s diagnoses — and maybe I should mention the possibility of need my team mate. But what can we do to help this parent develop assertiveness when the parent is barely present while they’re there?
(If more information is needed, I can talk privately to give some more detail while still maintaining privacy of information.)
Anyone familiar with this challenge either in the school or therapy setting and have any suggestions?
I’m going to compare this to different kinds of trauma work we do with in the community.
Some individuals and teams do crisis-specific work — they have someone in an intake appointment, evaluate the situation and whether the person can be safe, and go from there. Chances are they will see that person minimally afterward.
Their relationship with those people does not come with strings attached, with the “baggage” of knowing someone. And I don’t mean baggage in a strictly negative sense — baggage is essential. Baggage is how we have the bare necessities for getting along in a place that isn’t home. Sometimes it can be heavy, but it’s still something that we need in order to interact with the world.
So the individuals and teams who do work with clients on a long-term basis — whether that’s outpatient or in-home or in a residential program, as a therapist or caseworker or teacher or partner — they’ve spent time with these people. They see them on a regular basis, and they’ve had the chance to pack their bags. Obviously you can’t, or shouldn’t, treat your clients badly. But sometimes alongside the favorite things and techniques that help them most are things like ‘this person’s personality makes me want to hit my head against a wall’ and ‘you’re going to get nowhere with this or that intervention because it’s never worked before’ or ‘don’t even try to reason with that relative’ or even ‘just being in the same room as this person stresses me the hell out.’
It isn’t all a negative relationship. But because you have experiences you’ve built on, you might have a combination of perceptions that could lead to negative reactions or consequences that, say, someone who sees them once in a blue moon may not.
SOCIAL WORK/THERAPIST FRIENDS: peer supervision group is forming. group is geared towards those social workers who have had significant experience in therapy themselves and need a safe place to reflect on the challenges of going from client to therapist (and back again). (free) monthly meetings in NYC - first meeting will be at the end of March and the date, time, and place are currently being worked out now. Message me ( it-will-all-make-sense ) if you would like to be added to the list or would like more information.
Why is it that I can treat total strangers and co-workers and stuff so nicely, but I can treat my boyfriend and family like shit sometimes? I just realized this.
Personal relationships take a very different energy than professional ones, or those we have with strangers. You have a different dynamic, a different history. You know those people, have notions and ideas about them already, and can assume (or have been told or seen what seems like evidence of) they have the same of you.
Whether it’s that you feel safe being less kind with your loved ones, being more honest with them, or letting loose stress from the rest of the day; that you have negative feelings that bubble up over small things and become larger conflicts because you’ve known each other more closely, enough to have those sorts of issues; or that you sometimes don’t think about how you treat the people who are so part of your life that they seem like immovable fixtures that you neither have to impress nor coddle to keep around, there are a lot of reasons you treat them differently from strangers.
So I guess my suggestion would be to think about the ways and contexts in which you treat those people what you perceive as poorly, and see if you know any reasons right away that you might act that way, if there are any patterns in the how-when-why, if it’s a mutual situation, and if there’s something you can change that would make you feel better about the way you’re treating them.
if you wouldn't have gone with teaching/psychology, what else would you have wanted to do in your life?
Comicker. I was just telling a friend that I miss doing visual storytelling workshops with the kids I used to teach in the afterschool programs, and I’m in the middle of scripting a game that I’m half-dreading even attempting the character designs for, let alone trying to hone my digital skills to an even acceptable level in my free time. Once in awhile I have daydreams about retiring and then going right back to school for illustration in traditional mediums.
Despite any frustration or identity crisis (“I thought I was a better artist than this,” “This idea started out so perfect what happened,” “Wasn’t I able to do more pages at once last time?”) I genuinely enjoy graphic storytelling.
Well actually I’m sort of seeing someone…ish…just started, and they had a bit of a medical problem. So honestly right now my ideal date would be having the time to just go over there and hang out at her place with her, make her a meal, and hang out playing board games and talking with a movie on or something.
In a more abstract less contextual sort, I’m really fond of being able to hang out on the floor with someone for hours, with all manners of art supplies and novels and comics and dishes and mugs on the rug or the kitchen tile. It’s, admittedly, also a friend thing, but I like to imagine on an ideal date there might head heads on laps or something. Props if it’s after work and we can talk about said work before moving on from it.
In the last few weeks I’ve been told by kids, parents, or other professionals that it is my fault that a crisis is happening (parent), that my presence is what’s making a kid act up (professional), that I should be shot in the face (child); have been called unnecessary, useless, f*ggot, p*ssy, b*tch, motherf*cker, and “that girl”; have been swung at by a few different sets of small fists; and have had communication continuously ignored by a handful of people with whom we’re supposed to be working in tandem.
I have also been complimented by my supervisor, an admissions counselor, coworkers,and parents; given stickers to appreciative colleagues for themselves, not kids, and seen them hang onto them for days; have seen people overjoyedly become a permanent family, adults hug their kids and kids hug their adults; become a human chair by sitting down on a preschool circle rug for more than a minute; and watched removed and unresponsive kids get so excited over playing jenga with people that they move into jokes, laughter, and silliness.
I think that if you work professionally with the public, it’s sort of important to live where you work, or at least to have some kind of similar living situation and lifestyle.
If you for with a population you refuse to live with, you’re saying something to them, and I guarantee they’re hearing…
EDIT: I mentally missed the ‘similar living situation and lifestyle’ so the following is relevant specifically to location. But I will say that there is something to be said for scraping an empty barrel while trying to support others in their growth. Having worked in programs that pay at the poverty level to instill value and appreciation of those living in poverty, I can tell you that it is incredibly difficult to be able to give all of yourself to so many people with complex needs while also not having poor nutrition or a lack of security around housing or the ability to pay bills.
To location: My issue with this is that for some people there is a very serious privacy and safety concern. Because of my current position being mobile, I am always in a community where I also work. And kids and parents alike will ask incredibly personal questions or note if they saw me in the community, ask what I was doing there, etc. This may seem innocuous. But I’m constantly nervous about someone catching me on a date, to the point that for a long time I stopped even looking for a partner.
A very good teacher-turned-friend of mine had to move because she lived in her district, and some of the kids knew which house was hers. And when she had trouble with a difficult student, the student threw rocks through her windows.
She didn’t want to move, but she and her husband wanted to have children and her husband was terrified.
If you teach in a small enough area and work with troubled kids, living where you work can be dangerous. If your kids have parents with any opinions whatsoever, you could be lambasted for anything from what you wear in the supermarket to ever having a drink at a bar.
At the beginning of my experience with youth work I lived in what a few students on a field trip drive called (a colleague and I joked that we could see our house from the overpass), jaws open, “the ghetto.” It was a very close community in the HUD complex I lived in, and children would wait at my car if they needed a bandaid because they knew I kept some in the trunk. Because I used to keep them in the apartment, and kids would come up to my door. They weren’t my students. But I worked with a kid in the next district over who spit in my face during afterschool, and if he’d known where I lived he would have gladly broken a window in my car.
Did I refuse to live where I worked because of a class issue or for the sake of comfort? No. I did it for my own safety, because I have always tended to bond with some really difficult kids in difficult situations with a lot of feelings and very few tools.
It occurs to me that I post personal life stuff specifically to another blog, but that many other folks in the #education and related communities multitask — so you end up hearing about babies, pets, spouses, cooking, utilities, transportation, adventuring, etc.
So, because I’m trying to stay awake long enough to get some progress notes done, the ask box is open to questions of the random sort for anyone who’s been following and wondering if I’m actually a human being and not a conglomeration of therapeutic androids (or who have been following long enough to know better and just feel like poking at me).
EDIT: Looks like the way the schedule just stacked up that this will be the case for the rest of the week. Ask away. I’ll have some piles to work with.
(I know this is a joke on beanni’s part but just addressing it in regard to, having been there, many people who do not think it’s a joke and seem to perceive primary as so much easier to teach. We’re responsible for every subject at the primary level and for laying the foundations that upper levels build on, not to mention if we’re doing a good job for helping the kids see that concepts across content areas are related. I just never understand.)
#Cause I went to primary school#and this is what I remember
You can read, you can write, you can add and subtract, you can multiply and divide, you can relate ideas to other ideas and subjects to other subjects, you have a basic grounding in civics and science that all came from somewhere.
Thank you for the response. I liked your insight. I guess I am also frustrated with Kid's A and B and C because I was substitute teaching that day and did a terrible job. I mean, I'm only 20, in year 3 out of a 5 year teaching program at my university, and I have no idea what I'm doing in the classroom. What grade do you teach?
I’ll give you this for certain — the relationship you’ll have with these kids as a substitute teacher is likely to be drastically different from the one you’d have with them were they your students for more than a day or two in most circumstances. I was under the impression that these were kids you had as students while student-teaching.
To be 20 years old and teaching kids at the high school level, especially when you’re just learning things like classroom management, would be, I imagine, very difficult. I’m turning 27 this year and, when I was in the classroom, worked with grades K-6 - plus a month-long stint as a lead teacher in a Brooklyn preschool, where I had unknowingly been hired without meeting qualifications (which I felt quickly enough). As an afterschool academic interventionist, tutor, and teacher, I worked with low-income students, often in failing schools, in grades 2-8. And as a mentor, youth worker, and therapist, I work with kids from age 4 to 21, though right now the oldest isn’t quite 18.
It’s easy to feel in over your head when you’re starting, especially with the culture shock piece of sorts, and especially when you’re so close in age to your students. My advice is this — the second you’re paired with a mentor teacher whether to observe or teach alongside, watch and listen. Take (mental or literal) notes as to every little thing that makes up their classroom routines, how they set them, their relationships with their students and how they build them. And ask questions, ask ask ask. Ask your teachers how they build rapport, how they lay down the law so to speak, how they maintain control of the class, how they motivate their kids, how they reach them.
My other advice, from the position I’m in now as opposed to when I was in a classroom, is to be shocked by nothing, to be compassionate, but to still have firm expectations for your students. Work with them where they’re at and nudge them beyond that while making it clear that you believe that they can do it, but that they have to put in effort to get there. Find material that’s relevant to their lives or their viewpoints and give them opportunities to express their own within the context of your curriculum. Be prepared to respond to students who have been in jail, in the hospital, in life-altering situations, who have lost themselves or their loved ones or their friends. Be prepared to work with students who are well aware that many people assume that they will go nowhere and do nothing, and to believe that this is not the case and that, whatever future they want to work toward, they are capable of building their own futures — while also acknowledging that it will take work, and that situations have not always been and may continue to not always be fair.
I wish that I could offer some advice for the culture shock, but honestly, just hearing about a high-performing well-funded high school in the next district over from mine when I was still in school was culture shock in and of itself. I don’t know what a high-performing high school looks like. Or rather, I’ve never been in one, or part of one. But I hope others on here can offer some boots-on-the-ground advice for that in particular.
I am completing all of my education practicums at failing schools, and I substitute teach for the same county where the schools are located. Growing up in a community with high quality public schools this change is akin to culture shock for me. (Well, so is moving from San Diego, CA to Central FL)
It is so hard to teach in a school with 100% kids on free and reduced lunch, where the motivation to succeed is low and the regard for academics is even lower. How do I relate the text to these kids when KidA got out of jail the day before, when KidB is a 17 year old 9th grader reading on a 1st grade reading level, when KidC’s brother is doing 20-to-life for murder?! For these kids school is a one-way stop before prison, and we put them there! We either treat the kids in such a way where they come to believe they end up in prison or we harden our hearts and “just teach” and end up doing the same thing.
I certainly don’t have any answers for this, but here is something I know for sure:
When we operate through a deficit ideology, our students are doomed to fail.
I felt so overwhelmed when I first started teaching my school’s populations of students. It was so easy to dwell on their weaknesses and use them to make excuses for myself.
I’ve come to realize that when you hold these feelings towards your kids, even in an unspoken way, you’re limiting them and yourself.
Seek out books and resources that lift up your students strengths:
Sonia Nieto, Lisa Delpit, Paul Gorski, Gloria Ladson-Billings, Eric Jensen, and others.
We also need to redefine what we see as success. No teacher is a psychic, and all the kids in a classroom are not the same. When we say “motivation to succeed is low,” what are we using as definition of success?
Are we using college? Are we using As and Bs? Are we talking about passing classes that maybe these kids, as overwhelmed by some of the everyday details of their own lives as we might feel trying just to contemplate them, yes, seem unimportant?
We can’t assume that all our kids have the same outcomes and motivations and feelings even when they come from the same place and even when it feels like statistics are in the favor of those assumptions. Because statistics don’t say a hundred percent, and they are also mutable. We can help change the course of a student’s life. We can help change statistics. But we have to believe that students can and that we can ourselves.
3KidA, KidB, KidC, maybe they aren’t connecting with their texts. As educators this is something that we need to be concerned with, because our goals for them are, in part, academic. Maybe their goals are not what we are taught to consider success, to teach them are successful goals. But a goal to survive is a good goal, a goal to make it through school to get out, instead of dropping out, is a good goal, a goal to get a job is a good goal, a goal not to do some of the things their role models have done, they’re all solid goals. We need to redefine success for ourselves to make room for the kids whose goals are not what we’re taught we should hold as goals for our kids. Maybe then we can help the kids redefine what they’re capable of, to themselves, and they’ll be able to reach beyond the goals they already have.
But we have to give them room for theirs, and to look at other things in their life not as distraction from motivation but as different kinds of motivation. Their situations are not hurdles to overcome for us as educators and youth workers and counselors and whatever else we may be. They’re parts of a person that make that person the whole, that inform their day-to-day, and that have an impact not just on their lives at school but on every aspect.
hi! i was wondering if you would be willing to answer 10 questions about social work:) im currently a social work major in college and need to interview someone and i came across your blog. do you have an e-mail address i could reach you at?
I’m really flattered that you ask! I’m not a licensed social worker, although I do work in the field and will be pursuing an MSW — will that still be helpful?
I was exhausted and nearly on a tear this morning — when it comes to my kids, hospitals can be involved, cops can be involved, unexpected relocation can be involved, reporting, etc. — and shook my fists (via text) at a friend. Who in turn via text gave me a fist bump.
Can I tell you how much that unwound me? Probably not without sounding ridiculous.
But if someone just took a long look at the professionals and gave THEM a fistbump or a high five every now and then, I can’t help but think everyone would feel the slightest bit better.
Thank you so much for answering my question! I'm currently working as a classroom aide in a four year old preschool classroom, and there are so many things I want to do in the education field. At first I was drawn to the academics of it, but now I'm definitely more drawn to the social/emotional/behavioral aspects of it and how to help children the best way I can.
That’s awesome! I’m very excited because we’ve just been learning more and more about the different aspects of the local Head Start program one of my clients goes to, and it’s particularly relevant to those interests. Many Early Childhood Education centers have a variety of positions that may focus specifically on helping children with social, emotional, and behavioral needs? We’re waiting to interact with the Family Advocate as well as with the Behavior Specialist.
The other thing to remember is that so much of the education in the very early years is centered around social/emotional/behavioral learning that, if you enjoy being in the preschool classroom in general, you’ll be doing a lot for those aspects of those children’s development in whatever capacity you work therein. We rely very heavily on people at the preschool level to help us identify kids that are going to need therapeutic services, and the teachers and classroom aides are really indispensable.
If you’re looking at additional education, check with where you work to see if they offer tuition reimbursement for related degrees. And know that now there are a number of reputable online programs through established, reliable institutions of education for a variety of fields related to serving children’s social/emotional/behavioral needs.
Offering a new…product? Service? A bit of both? Both to fill a niche and to save up, pay off debts, and get some pretty important milestone stuff to start happening. What you see here is the most of a pep pal (like pen pal) pack in action.
What’s a pep pal pack? A pep pal pack is a one-time or monthly snail mail message of encouragement and high hopes for you or someone you know who might need it. They’re simple, a little bit doofy, and meant to give someone a smile. The message on the drawing can be general cheer, self-care reminders, or a pick-me-up — “you’re awesome!”, a “Don’t Give Up,” “be kind to yourself,” an inspirational quote, and on and on — delivered by a doodled version of their favorite animal (or object I guess if you want a happy houseplant or a talking pencil or something). The doodle above has colored pencil on the background but it’s hard to tell with the angle.
What’s in a pep pal pack?
your/their pick-me-up message and doodle
some construction paper confetti or bookpage origami (from discarded used books only, generally romance novels)
a few stickers with their own message on back
a piece or few of candy (not pictured here)
an envelope doodled with your/their favorite color(s)
These are sent in a regular-sized envelope with a regular first-class stamp. Tracking may be available, I just have to check with the post office on how that works with letters - right now it appears that it’s only available for packages or mail that requires a signature.
You’re paying for the doodle, paper, and postage, and the candy and stickers are a gift, for the sake of reselling issues, etc.
whether you’d prefer paper shapes or origami or alternating (if monthly)
relevant food info (i.e., allergic to citrus/strawberries/peanuts, can’t stand grape, etc.)
if you want your messages to take any particular tone (general, self-care, encouragement/consolation, etc)
How much? How can I get one? The pep pal packs are $12 a month, and you can order one by hitting up my email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want one or a monthly, have specific messages you want to see in yours or a friend’s doodles, or have any questions, please include that information in the email!
Reblarg for a more normal hour here in the states
Posting in case it’s relevant to any of my followers’ needs, whether education or therapy or otherwise.
It doesn’t matter if you call me back on time. That’s totally fine. My day doesn’t revolve around you or anything — it revolves around you and four other families today living scattered across an hour’s drive stretch, but knowing if and when you’re expecting to do this thing doesn’t matter at all to my plans that’s absolutely fine.
Hi GWALP, I'm a senior in college and we're talking about developing a personal/professional balance. What would be your advice to teachers just starting out in their careers to not live at work and still have a semblance of a personal life? Thanks a ton!
Have someone in your life hold you accountable for having a life. If it’s a boyfriend, girlfriend, BFF, make plans and make that person make you keep them. Also, join a community group that has nothing to do with teaching. I help put on a big colonial reenactment every year, and I’m a member of Daughters of the American Revolution. Find a church, book club, knitting group, sorority, men’s club, Rotary, Kiwanis, DAR/SAR, or Civitan to be part of.
I have a grade schooler on my client list who gets loud and violent in part due to communication difficulties. It also seems triggered by an extremely low frustration tolerance.
But especially lately it seems to be triggered particularly when they aren’t getting their way, in an effort to get others to give in. They’ve voice to two different people after the fact that they have done this to get out of programming, etc. It’s difficult to tell whether this is a conscious effort, or whether the question-and-answer has been led, but when they see that they are absolutely not going to get what it is they’re after no matter what or they are told they will, they calm down. A lot of the behavior is aimed at their parent, and sometimes at another couple of authority figures, and includes directed swearing and statements of destructive intent (“I’M GONNA BREAK ____”) followed by attempts. It’s been categorized thus far as a variety of potential difficulties with mood.
So the question that keeps bubbling up in my head is, with the targeted destruction, when does this start edging into Oppositional Defiance Disorder territory? Thoughts?