These are the kind of kids I think are great!
I am very lucky to only be assigned to one school as a school psychologist. In the school district where I work, the mental health needs of our students is astounding.
I work for a school district that is about 75% military population. Half of our schools are on the army post Fort Carson, and the other half of our schools are in the community suburb along the boundary of Fort Carson.
Because I am at one school, I am able to really get involved with the culture and people of that school. I am able to build relationships with the families I work with.
It is amazing how every year it seems that the number of students impacted by special needs, for example, autism, ADHD, multiple disabilities, and emotional disabilities, increases exponentially. Since I've worked in this district for almost 8 years, our number of special programs has doubled (e.g., Significant Support Needs classrooms, Affective Needs classrooms for children with emotional/behavioral disorders, Autism programs for both high-functioning and severe autism). Additionally, all of our preschool programs in the district are now Early Intervention programs, serving only children with special needs because the need is so great in our community. We have no room for "typical peers" in our preschool programs.
Our schools on post not only employ a school psychologist and counselor at every school, but now have offices for medical psychiatrists in each school as well.
We speculate as to why special needs is on the rise in our district. It could be that we are a magnet military post for special needs (if a family has a child with special needs, they are typically stationed at a post that is known for accommodating special needs with multiple special programs). It could be that the impact of multiple deployments on families is causing more stress on families than we could have ever imagined. It could be a natural increase that occurs everywhere as awareness of mental health and special needs increases.
All I know is that the mental health needs of our children cannot be ignored, and in particular, the mental health needs of our military families are almost at a crisis level, to state it mildly.
Sometimes, I feel really tired. I wonder if I am having an impact. I cannot "fix" these kids. I do not have a magic wand. I try my best. Sometimes, you wonder if your best is enough.
I get frustrated, very frustrated, with the stupid politics that plague the employees of even public schools (oh, you wouldn't believe the shit that goes on). Sometimes, often, I dream of moving my career onto something else, or finally bringing in the big bucks with my writing. Ha!
But, I do so love those kids that I work with. They are the best part of what I do every day. Without them, there's no way I could keep going and working my butt off. I would have long ago said, "No, thank you. I am done being put through a ringer every day for shit pay." I have not thrown in the towel on those kids. Those goofy, maddening, messy, loud, and silly kids. You gotta love them. Sometimes, love is enough.