Wow, it is so hard to believe we are approaching the New Year already. I know it has been a very busy year so far for all of you as it has been for me. As I look at this first part of the school year, I realize there were many days that I wonder how I made it through.
In our system, as I know is the case in yours, we continue to struggle with the new evaluation system. For those of us who have been through it already, it is a stressful and challenging process. Earlier this year, I attended the Social Work Day on the Hill in Nashville. This was a time to meet with our Representatives to express our concerns about the new system. Most were very receptive to our ideas and concerns and genuinely interested in the information presented to them. However, the number of school social workers who attended that day was not nearly as high as it should be. We all have concerns about the new system, but no one will know about these concerns unless we show up in great numbers and advocate for ourselves. I know advocating is something we do for our students and families on a daily basis but we also need to take the time to advocate for ourselves. I strongly encourage each of you to make plans to attend this important day next year in Nashville. If you can, make a day of it and go as a group. There is strength in numbers! As the time gets near, hopefully we can plan a way for all of us to meet and show up together!
Another important thing to remember as we get busier and busier in the school year is the importance of self-care. Often times we are so busy taking care of the students, families, and even staff in our schools only to go home and take care of our loved ones there and then we forget to take care of ourselves. One of the most important things I took from my Master’s Program was how important it is to take time for me. I know it may feel selfish sometimes to focus on what we need and what we want, but if we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we take care of anyone else? Yes, we would all like to take off from work and have a little self-care somewhere tropical, but it doesn’t have to be that elaborate or expensive. Look for the things you enjoy that make you happy. Sometimes just an afternoon playing with my own kids is self-care for me. Reading a book not related to work, or a mindless evening of television are all simple things I can do that are self-care for me. I challenge you to find what works for you and take the time to do it and encourage fellow school social workers to do the same.
Enjoy the rest of your school year and take care of YOURSELF!!
School Social Worker
Jackson-Madison County School System