卡罗琳 works in a wealthy suburban school district, at an elementary school that houses grades 3 through 5. For the current school year, she has been assigned to work as an intervention specialist, with an intended focus on supporting students in the general education setting.
She arrives at work 准时, but every last parking space in the lot is taken. 快速浏览一下仪表板时钟，您会发现两个选择：她可能开会迟到，或者可以在禁止进入的区域四处停车。她将车轮向右猛拉，并越过了限制区域，认为值得遭受保管人的愤怒。
She hustles inside the school, hair wet, eyes tired, and throws her bag down as she greets her first customer of the day, a 特殊教育 teacher. After a brief moment of niceties, they launch right into it: Two of the teacher’s new students are struggling. Not struggling in the sense that they are a little behind in reading or math, but struggling in the sense that they have severe cognitive impairments and their highly specialized programming isn’t meeting their needs. The skilled, caring teacher is out of ideas, and she needs 卡罗琳’s help. Statements of frustration like “I shouldn’t have to deal with this,” and, “This kid should know better,” escape the typically sunny teacher’s mouth.
For the next ten minutes, 卡罗琳’s morning continues as planned. She and the teacher discuss creative ways for keeping the students engaged, encouraging socialization and improving motor skills. It is a productive conversation, in which 卡罗琳 carefully walks the fine line of trusted adviser, sympathetic colleague, and pep-talk deliverer. The meeting will create hours of additional work for 卡罗琳—she will have to conduct observations in the students’ classroom, make the necessary changes to their daily schedules, and follow up with multiple service providers—but she feels good about the small amount of progress the students have made thus far.
Time to make some phone calls. 卡罗琳 has been asked to start some new social skills groups, but difficulty in getting parent permission has delayed everything by a few weeks. Most parents won’t be available for phone calls at this time of the morning, but she has to give it a shot—she loves teaching the groups, and she wants to make sure they actually happen. 卡罗琳 is not naïve—she knows that teaching social skills is a daunting task, that behaviors practiced in small groups often fail to translate to the classroom. But she’s excited about a new curriculum she’s piloting, and she hopes she can teach the students how to make a friend or two.
卡罗琳’s office mate—a counselor who spends much of her time playing the role of social worker—reflects that things are particularly crazy at the school right now, due to the sharp increase of new students with highly intensive needs. In a twist of irony, another teacher arrives in 卡罗琳’s office just then to discuss an acceleration case. The student’s family is convinced she is too bright for her classroom, and they are demanding she be moved ahead a grade. 卡罗琳 will need to call the family and remind them of the team’s decision not to accelerate the student the previous year, a decision based on extensive data.
Over the next hour, 卡罗琳 hammers away at her laptop, attempting to cobble together an email explaining the plan for the ASD student she’s never met. The email should only take ten minutes to write, but 卡罗琳 is constantly interrupted. A third grader wanders in and begins rummaging through 卡罗琳’s office, mumbling something about a broken water bottle. Teachers continue to stop by to discuss students, to search for sensory fidgets and paperwork, to ask quick questions. A student comes in to give 卡罗琳 a hug, which she readily accepts.
By the time 卡罗琳 finishes the email, she has lost a significant part of her day, as well as her opportunity for calling parents about the social skills group. But she has also accomplished a great deal—she has calmed an anxious student and set her up for a positive day. She has developed and communicated a streamlined plan that will help another student be safer and more productive at school. She has supported her friends and colleagues in their efforts, working her magic in the background so they can help the students on the front lines.
艾莉森 is a school psychologist in a large, urban school district whose students come from a wide variety of socioeconomic, cultural, and racial backgrounds. She splits her time between an elementary school with close proximity to a major university, and a high school located in a low-income neighborhood with a historically high rate of violent crime.
Thank goodness the elementary school is still relatively quiet. She can prepare without interruption, review the results of her testing and search for research-based interventions for anxiety. She will be meeting with a team of educators and a student’s mother to discuss the results of a complex 特殊教育 evaluation. The team would like to dismiss the child from special ed and support her in other ways, a process that can be terrifying for parents. 艾莉森 has rearranged her entire schedule to be at the meeting, knowing it will require the perfect balance of data-sharing, empathy, and encouragement. She practices what she will say, checks her notes one more time, and arrives at the conference room only to discover the mother has cancelled the meeting at the last minute. Argh.
艾莉森 grabs her bag and forces herself not to glance at her baby’s empty car seat as she sets off for her other building. She spends the next thirty minutes driving to the inner-city high school where she works, the one that recently made headlines when a loaded gun was discovered there. The building has no metal detectors, but 艾莉森 hopes her office’s basement location will protect her from the violence and gang activity that have been a serious problem in the school this year.
The basement locale doesn’t keep her safe from mice, however, and she shrieks as one crawls out from behind her computer. She seeks out a colleague for support, a speech/language clinician who reassures her by 在做 an “anti-mouse dance” and extolling the virtues of rat poison. 艾莉森 is now two-and-a-half hours into her workday. She hasn’t accomplished as much as she would have liked, but at least her adrenaline is flowing.
Next, she ventures upstairs to help monitor the hallways between classes. At 5’3” in heels, 艾莉森 is shorter than most of the students, but she does her best to seem tall and authoritative. After an incident-free passing time, she stops by the office and quietly rejoices when she finds completed checklists awaiting her. (School psychologists have to walk a fine line between gentle encouragement and outright harassment for completed questionnaires from teachers and parents; reminder phone calls, cheerful notes, verbal threats, and leftover Halloween candy are all employed regularly with varying degrees of success.) Jealously guarding the prized forms, she heads back to the bowels of the school to catch up on some email.
For the next half hour, 艾莉森 engages in an incredibly boring phone discussion about how to score an adaptive behavior assessment. It’s the kind of phone call psychologists put off because they know it will take forever and the short-term payoff will be minimal. But in the long run, the conversation will inform decisions about whether or not students qualify for extra support. And as the “gatekeepers of 特殊教育,” psychologists like 艾莉森 are expected to have this kind of arcane information at their fingertips.
艾莉森 spends the next few minutes multi-tasking—she checks her email, keeps an ear out for emergencies on the school walkie, and gets out the old breast pump to take care of new mother business. (Allison is lucky in this regard—her basement office affords her privacy for pumping that many classroom teachers would die for.)
So far, 艾莉森’s day has gone uncommonly smoothly. She hasn’t been called to any crisis situations, no one has popped by her office with urgent questions, and she has generally stayed on schedule. She attributes her good luck to the fact that she only recently returned from maternity leave, and her colleagues haven’t gotten used to relying on her again. 她向自己承认，她实际上并不介意有紧急的打扰； 紧急中断往往会使工作保持新鲜感。
Now 艾莉森 clicks open an email she’s been avoiding, one from a special ed teacher who works with students with significant cognitive delays. The teacher is concerned about the plan 艾莉森 helped develop for a student whose problem behaviors include swearing, threatening, and hitting staff and students. The teacher doesn’t think the expectations for the student are high enough, and says the plan isn’t fair to the rest of her students. Reading between the lines, 艾莉森 infers that the teacher is sick and tired of dealing with the kid, and she wants him out of her classroom for good. Situations like this are one of the toughest parts of the job because they force psychologists to play the bad guy. While she knows the teacher is stretched and stressed, 艾莉森 has to advocate for the student.
After consulting with one of the school’s social workers, 艾莉森 writes a carefully worded response to the teacher, validating her concerns, thanking her for her help and patience, and explaining that it will take time for the student’s behavior to improve. Taking the utmost care not to upset the hardworking, overtired teacher, she asks another psychologist to review the email before ultimately sending it off.
Because 艾莉森’s day has been a calm one, she allows herself fifteen minutes to eat lunch away from her desk. As she scarfs down a turkey sandwich, she chats with the school social worker—her closest ally and sometimes therapist—about life outside of work. Then it’s back to her dark, educational overlord, the personal computer. In some sense, the opportunity to respond to email and work on reports during the school day is a luxury; still, 艾莉森 would rather spend her time working with kids and teachers, and she wishes she didn’t have so much pressing communication withering away in her inbox. Most of the duty day has come and gone, and she has yet to make contact with an actual student.
Next, 艾莉森 opens Google Docs to view a professional development plan she recently drafted for the team she leads. The group has adopted the lofty and potentially frustrating goal of improving interventions for failing students. Staff members at the school—like those at most schools—are frustrated with the intervention process, and continue to see it as a waste of time, a hurdle between struggling kids and 特殊教育 services. If 艾莉森’s team can solve this problem, they deserve a medal.
艾莉森 has a few spare minutes, which she uses to write up a last-minute evaluation report. The report is a sixteen-page document chock full of data detailing a student’s strengths and difficulties, data which she and the 特殊教育 team have collected over the previous six weeks. While her job includes a heavy load of 特殊教育 evaluations and reports, 艾莉森 often puts such tasks off in favor of more urgent ones. As she types, she briefly wonders whether this particular report will make any difference in the life of the student. Then she shakes her head and reminds herself that all the data collected, all the progress monitored, and all the time invested are a psychologist’s way of ensuring students get the service and support they so desperately need.
艾莉森’s heavily administrative day ends on a positive note, at a staff meeting where the principal addresses the difficult climate at the school. While she expects this meeting to be depressing and frustrating, 艾莉森 is struck by the new principal’s willingness to listen and respond to staff concerns; she also appreciates his admission that he has made mistakes in his handling of the situation.
The meeting ends, and 艾莉森 takes a moment to reflect that she has just finished a pretty good day’s work. She has laid the groundwork for the next few weeks: Now reports can be written, interventions implemented, and the school may even be a little safer. Still, she wishes she had gotten in some face-to-face time with students and teachers.
Before packing up and heading out, 艾莉森 takes a quick peek at her schedule for the next day, and she smiles to herself. Tomorrow, she sees, will be a people day. Tomorrow, she will chat with a favorite student about his post-high school plans. She will help another student address some problems she’s been having with anxiety. She will consult with her favorite team of teachers about building bridges between school and home for struggling students.