One thing that every person who works in a high demand field needs to know is their own personal limits. Although we all aspire to be Super Psychologists, test every kid, solve every problem, respond to every crisis, and consult with every teacher, I have news for you: we can't. We are limited in our time, resources, and support, and we need to prioritize and learning what to say "no" to. I had, and continue to have, difficulty not jumping up to respond to every situation or crisis (though with the testing and evaluations piling up, it's becoming easier). The hardest part is we all have a big drive to help and make things better, but getting everything done isn't possible. Knowing your limits with what you can feasibly accomplish will make professional life so much easier.
That's one kind of "knowing your limits," and there's another kind that's equally important: knowing what populations you have difficulty working with. We are not effective when our buttons are pushed or we are dealing with personal reactions to children in our buildings. Some people have trouble working with abuse cases, others have reactions to students who curse at them, others have difficulty working with aggressive children, etc. Me? My limit is... well, we'll call them "self-directed" girls, Grades 2-4 (and by self-directed, it's my nice way of saying bratty and noncompliant).
One of them was in my office yesterday and was completely disregarding all gentle directions and reminders I was giving her. I was trying to work with another student, and she was constantly disrupting me, getting out of her seat, going on my desk, and asking to draw a picture or for a piece of candy. Eventually, I snapped and started yelling at her, much to the surprise of the other young gentleman (who later said, "Miss __, you got really mad..." and I gave him a little pat to comfort him). Another colleague returned to the office, and I gave her my best set of pleading eyes, and she helped me out with the girl.
See? Totally unproductive. Not only did my tirade interfere with my ability to effectively deal with why she was sent out of the room, but it also impacted the little guy I was working with.
God help Fiance and I if we someday have a daughter...
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