02 03 Notes from the School Psychologist: Back to School...Gak! 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Back to School...Gak!

     I had my first B2S (Back to School) dream a few nights ago: I was trying to organize the files of the students with overdue assessments and I could only find 2 out of the 40 files I needed.* Last night, I had another: I dreamed the copier wasn’t working and I had an IEP meeting to get to and my report wasn’t copied. I suppose “dream” is the wrong word choice in this situation. Yes, it’s annual B2S anxiety nightmare season! I imagine my sub-c saying something like, “Guuuuuuurl…you better get yourself ready for the drama of a new school year.” So here we go. I am readying myself in the following ways, and invite those who are trying to get back in the spirit of B2S to join me:

1)    Go to Target. I know, it’s not very zen to put “obtain materialistic goods during B2S sales” as the top coping strategy, but I do actually find myself very zen and centered in Target. Perhaps it’s that mesmerizing bulls eye logo that does it. Only problem is, I go in for pencils and come out with a giant cart worth of stuff. That bulls eye hypnotizes me---I. Need. New. Curtains. And. Everything. I. See. I. Will. Obey. You. Swirly. Red. Friend.
This year, I plan to have self-control though. I will only purchase a few new play therapy toys (because if I play Uno one more time, I swear, I’ll lose it), one or two new school psychologist costumes (look out, Sister Wife 3, I’m jacking your style), and one zillion pens and pencils (of which one will remain in my possession by the end of the school year.) Oh, and maybe also some new curtains. The bulls eye doesn’t lie. I need them.

2)    Pick ONE New Tool to Use During the School Year to Improve Your Practice. After going to conferences, doing professional developments, or reading about new techniques and trends on Twitter and blogs, I get excited to implement them all in my daily work as a school p. But then, I have days like these and it’s all I can do to not tear my hair out (not a good look) and get one little thing done. So this year, I plan to add only one new tool to improve my practice. This year’s winner? Integrating a strengths-based assessment tool into my testing battery. I am tired of my reports having 13 pages of what a kid can’t do and then at the end, a wimpy section that says something like, “Strengths include working well one-on-one!”

The winning assessment I am adding is also FREE. Can you believe it? It will need to be free once I accidently spend Baby B’s college fund at Target. The free assessment is the VIA Strength Survey for Children. It is based on the research that there are 24 “signature strengths” that can be tapped into to promote happiness. And let’s face it, our little friends struggling in school could use a little happiness infusion from time to time, by building their strengths, especially when there are horrible moments when a parent can't think of any strengths.  This FREE survey is a great little counseling tool as well, to have kiddos think of new ways to use their strengths. They have a survey for adults too if you want to take it just for funsies.**

3)    Read Some Kid or Young Adult Fiction. Now I haven’t read a book since “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” and “The Happiest Baby on the Block” (unless you count board books, where it is clear Baby B is is making text-to-text connections between her Boynton books). So this recommendation is exciting for me. Now you might want to get a Kindle for this rec, if you’re prone to being embarrassed for reading Captain Underpants or Twilight in public. Truth is though, most people have now read the Hunger Games and such, so go for it. I find that being up to date on the latest book helps me in counseling situations when kids are hesitant to talk about their problems, but they can relate to characters in books and talk freely. I once worked with a girl who refused to talk about her eating disorder, but she asked me to read “The Pretties,” which has themes about body image in it, and we were able to talk about the character’s feelings. Slowly but surely, we were able to talk directly about the girl’s feelings. Plus, some YA fiction is pretty good. I find that I enjoy how cognitively complex they are compared to Baby B’s board books. 

4)    Read My Book. What? You didn’t actually expect me to get through an entire post without shamelessly plugging The School Psychologist’s Survival Guide, now did you? Well, since I subject you to this all the time, how about this book is on me this time? Yea! A B2S Giveway!

To enter, you can a) make a comment on this blog or the Facey Face fan page with one thing you are doing to prepare for B2S or b) share this post on Facey or Twitter (be sure to tag Notes From the School Psychologist Blog or @studentsgrow so I know). I will put the names in a list and then use a random number generator to pick the winner. Good luck!

*I am not tech savvy at all, so I'm pretty dang proud of myself for making a meme. AND for knowing what a meme is. 
**My top strength is apparently “Forgiveness and Mercy.” Guess that’s why I am always returning each school year pretending I wasn’t a psychological punching bag all year long the prior year. My how summer vacay erases your memory...Even though my sub-c knows better. 
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