Saturday, September 26, 2009

learning contract

So I haven't given you guys an update on my social work student since my panic earlier this month. I had NO idea having a student would be this much work. Or well, I sort of did, but really, it's A LOT of work! I think I'm settling into a routine with her now though, which is really helpful. There was one week when I came into work an hour early on the days she was there as well as leaving late so that I could get all my work done while still spending time with her. Of course, I also had to work on training our new counsellor, so I was trying to do a crazy amount of work...

So, things I've learned so far (some of which I was warned about, some of which I'm figuring out on my own).

1. Having a student makes you hyper aware of what you are doing. I haven't had someone observe one of my counselling session since I did a video session in third year university. Now I have someone observing and critiquing my counselling. I also have to pay a lot more attention to how I spend my time because two days a week, there's someone watching everything I do.

2. I need to slow down. I always need to slow down, so this isn't actually new, however, having a student forces me to take the time to slow down and really think about what I am doing and why.

3. Shoes are an important thing. I have a habit of not wearing shoes while at work. I wear them when I see clients, but other then that... It drives my boss crazy, and if she "made" me wear them, I would make more of an effort, but mostly she just shakes her head. However, now that I have a student, I've started thinking about what kind of an example I'm setting as a professional, and realizing... hmmm shoes... probably a good thing.

4. Having a student makes me go back to basics. I found her my "basic counselling responses" text book and took a good look at it myself. It made me think about some of those basic things which have in a way become second nature to me.

5. Having a student also brings me back to some of that "impostor syndrome" I've felt in the past. That whole, I can't do this, who am I to be calling me a social worker type thing. Only in this case, it's all about not screwing the poor girl up or having her expose me as a fake.

On the whole, I really like having a student. I think she's going to bring a lot to our organization. Having a student means we all act a little "sharper", but it also means we get a new perspective, someone who is right now reading the most current up to the date stuff and learning lots of great things in school. I enjoy helping some one else learn about their passions, about social work and about being a professional. I love reading her reflections and trying to challenge her thinking and get her to explore some of her own strengths and weaknesses. I hopefully will get to keep doing this, because I think it is such a wonderful thing.

4 comments:

Hazel said...

I'll be that student next semester! It's nice to gain some perspective from the other side.

Ash H. said...

I just started my first social work internship, which is also my first experience in the field too. Coming from a student whose field supervisor is a complete dream in terms of being there for me, and really engaging in the "teaching" process, and holding my hand, when needed - I just want you to know that YOU ARE SO APPRECIATED! Yes, your work still needs to be done, and that counselor still needs to be trained - but you must know the impact and wonderful experience you are providing this student. She will never forget you, and the opportunities you gave her. :)

jackie c. said...

Haha... I am feeling the same impostor syndrome with my students. Somehow I get by but I think they must think I'm crazy. Sounds like you're doing okay too! And my goodness, it certainly is time-consuming...

cb said...

I think I'll be getting a student soonish and I still suffer from the imposer syndrome - ten years after I qualified!