Professional Juggler

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juggler

It’s been four weeks of school so far this year and, as with any year, there’s a lot of new to get used to. Well, if there was an award for the most changes for a school, I’d like to enter mine because I think we might win, or at least come in a close second.

This year, we have a new superintendent, a new principal, a new secretary, one less classroom, one less special education teacher, a couple more ed. techs, a new schedule for lunch/recess, specials, and RTI, and a whole new system for managing behaviors.

Phew.

I anticipated having to be patient and flexible with the many impending changes. What I didn’t anticipate was adding “Professional Juggler” to my résumé.

Our new system for managing behaviors out of the classroom has impacted my role the most. Here’s how it works: When students need to leave the classroom for behavior issues, they go to the office for the principal to handle. I am next in line to process behaviors. Because the principal is splitting time between two schools, much of it is on me.

If you’re a regular to my blog, you probably know I’m only a 4 day per week counselor, so my time is already very precious. With my added responsibilities, I’m finding it extremely difficult to support my students in the same ways I have for the last three years.

I’m very involved in the proactive part of teaching positive behaviors through weekly classroom lessons, student groups, individual meetings, and regular communication with teachers and parents. However, the time I have to do all of this is interrupted daily to take part in the reactive, reparative part of behavior.

Can I do both? Should I do both? I have my personal opinions, and I know what the ASCA National Model would tell me. Meanwhile, I have about 20 puzzle pieces in the air that I can’t quite seem to fit together.

The fact that I’m entering into the “no go” area of being a counselor who’s also a disciplinarian is on my mind every. single. day. Although I take a restorative approach to processing behaviors with students (there is no yelling, no shaming, no blaming), I’m with it enough to know that students know when they’re in trouble, and I fear my room becoming acquainted with “you go here when you’re bad.”

Sigh.

Have I spoken up about this? Yes, several times. Am I documenting the time spent doing the different tasks? Yes, every day.

Alas, here I am. I can only hope that as some of the pieces begin to fall, I can start to put the puzzle together. Until then, the juggling continues.

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One thought on “Professional Juggler

  1. I wonder if your school has a classroom buddy system? I have found that, if used proactively, it can be effective in that students’ behaviors do not escalate, the teacher and student get a much needed break from each other and there is an opportunity for students to reflect on their behavior. This decreases the need to go to the office. Of course, really serious behaviors will still need to be handled right away. These should be few and far between if you have a strong PBIS program. Feel free to email me if you want more information on how classroom buddy systems work.

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