According to U.S. News & World Report, my job as a school psychologist ranks #2 among social services jobs. Granted, that’s a pretty broad field. They’ve included lawyer and nail technician in that group of professions. But still. I’d have to agree that being a school psychologist definitely rocks.
Here’s why: We make strong, personal connections with people every day. And connections seem to be what keep people healthy and happy, or so I’m told.
Take that kid that I met last spring, a high school sophomore whom I’ll call Angel. That’s actually his middle name. Angel had terrible attendance, and a reading disability. I talked with Angel about his attendance. He told me that he likes learning things outside of school, and he told me how connected to the universe he feels when he works in his garden. He loves learning about the universe.
“Did you know that we’re all made of stardust?” he asked me.
“Did you ever hear the song, Woodstock, by Joni Mitchell?” I replied, going on to quote the lyrics, “We are stardust, we are golden and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” I also told him about the TV series “Cosmos.”
The next day, Angel told me that he’d looked up both the song and the TV series on YouTube, he liked the song, and he’d watched two episodes of Cosmos.
Just that morning, I had received an email about a special summer camp at the University for high school kids, all about outer space. I gave him the application. He noticed the tiny acronym, NASA, at the bottom of the form.
“Guess what!” he exclaimed, pulling something out of his backpack. It was an extra t-shirt that he just happened to have with him, with NASA emblazoned on the front.
I wondered if Angel would return to school this year.
Last week, I started back to school after summer vacation. The students weren’t back yet. Towards the end of the day, I walked across the parking lot to my car and saw someone heading toward me. It was Angel. He greeted me and gave me a little hug. He told me that he’s decided to go back to his former school; he just came in to pick up his transcript. I wished him well.
My new photo book about the Pacific Northwest, Standing in the Surf, is available in e-book and paperback formats here: