A school psychologist works in the educational system and offers assistance to children who suffer social, emotional, and academic problems. Since each student is different, an individual approach is necessary to promote a healthy environment for learning. A person following this career path must possess five key strengths for success.
1. Knows How to Deal with Emotions
A student may consult with a school psychologist for a number of reasons. Besides academic problems, this professional helps a child deal with emotional issues. Oftentimes, a student’s negative classroom behavior is a manifestation of a troubled home life. A child does not have to suffer abuse to become withdrawn or violent. A divorce, death in the family, or other issue may cause a student to display a wide range of emotions. A child may be angry, sad, or display flashes of rage at school. It is up to the psychologist to uncover the root of the problem and provide other outlets for the child to manage his or her feelings.
2. Has an Approachable Personality
A child is often afraid to confide in a strange adult. A school psychologist must present an approachable personality that welcomes everyone. If a child does not feel safe, he or he will not openly discuss private issues. The best way to seem inviting to a child is to share personal information. Stories help a child relate to an adult and build trust. It may get a student comfortable enough to tell stories as well. A school psychologist listens well and reads between the lines to assess emotions. When a child realizes it is safe to trust the psychologist, he or she will feel free to visit whenever there is a problem.
3. Knows How to Train Parents and Faculty
School psychologists spend a majority of time dealing with students. They are also responsible for training teachers and parents how to get through times of crisis and how to deal with issues like substance abuse. These professionals act as a school’s cornerstone for intervention.
For example, today’s headlines are filled with stories of school shootings. Psychologists meet with students to discuss these types of situations and help them deal with the emotional aftermath.
School psychologists try to educate parents and faculty about substance abuse issues as well. They explain how to recognize signs of problems and how to get children the help they need.
4. Is Creative
A school psychologist is responsible for developing programs that help students overcome learning barriers. After analyzing certain test results, a psychologist must work with teachers to create activities that stimulate learning. When a child is interested in school, he or she is likely to participate and retain as much information as possible. It is also a psychologist’s job to evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs already in existence and to make changes when necessary.
If a student with learning difficulties is detected, a psychologist must design a program to encourage academic success. Since each child is different, it takes creativity to implement a strategy that works well.
5. Appreciates and Encourages Diversity
Most schools have students of different races and religions. Since this can be a basis for strife, a school psychologist must nip trouble in the bud and establish a place where everyone is viewed as equal. This professional must embrace diversity and help foster tolerance among the classrooms. Learning about various cultures helps students appreciate their differences and come together as a cohesive unit. This keeps the school safe and maintains a place that is conducive to learning.
School psychology is a good career choice for a person who wants to work in an educational setting to help parents and teachers create the best environment for learning. It is a promising field for an individual looking to help children reach their full potentials.