About this sample
About this sample
Words: 1733 |
9 min read
Published: May 24, 2022
Words: 1733|Pages: 4|9 min read
Growing up I always loved going to school. As a child growing up in an Nigerian household education has always been a priority. My experience in primary school was a good one. I always stayed out and trouble and did my homework . Majority of my teachers at the time were very hands on, caring and supportive and made sure each of their students were up to standards when it came to our academics, I remember one teacher in particular who was very judgmental and closed minded. She never hid the fact that she had students who she selected as her favorites in the classroom. I remember sitting in class listening to her lecture about how important it was to do our homework and how our future depends on it, if not, that we would become nobodies and no one would want to hire us. She had one student that she despised. You can tell by her demeanor, the way she would talk to him, telling him how he would never amount to anything, she would mock him or laugh at his work in front of us, and when he did do his assignments she would have the nerve to say out loud “ Wow, did you really do this yourself? I didn’t expect this coming from you”. I felt so sad for my classmate because he dreaded coming to school. I would see him cry every day during recess. I did everything I can to make him feel better. I told myself that I would never belittle or make people feel as if they weren’t good enough. By the end of the year our teacher was replaced .
Middle school was supposed to be one of the most difficult times were we experience puberty, become in tuned with our emotions and find the need for social interactions and making connections with our peers. I stressed about my academics transitioning from having only one teacher to now having multiple teachers. Stressing over my social life, craving the need to find who my real friends were and trying to not disappoint my parents all at the same time. In middle school it was very important for me to have at least one teacher who became my mentor. I felt that I needed to be cared for by adults and peers and overall feeling important to the school. I was very active and hands on. My teachers were very open minded when it came to building meaningful relationships between the students and teachers. Which made learning so much fun and interesting.
When I think about my high school experience, it was clear that the role of school was to educate me to become somebody, so that one day when I did go out to the “REAL WORLD” as we called it, I can be productive and be a functioning member in society who can work and educate others. This finally hit me even though my parents lectured countless of hours of why education was so important in the years before. I had some good and bad memories, mistakes, heartbreak, lessons and drama all while having fun. I learned the value of hard work as well as becoming independent in so ways. For example, making sure my assignments were turned in on time. Taking accountability of my actions and just becoming a responsible teenager overall. I made so many friends, I played sports and made it on the varsity teams, I attended summer school just to get ahead. In high school I had the time of my life. I wish we learned more about the other aspects of becoming an adult such as learning how to save money, how to buy a house or a car, how to build our credit. Learning real life responsibilities would have made a large impact on my experience in high school.
What I know now as a an adult and working as a school social worker is that there is enough flexibility in the school system especially today for school social workers to impact and change student’s lives significantly. My experience in primary school and in middle school has helped me the most when it comes to working with students. I wanted to help silenced children be heard. My passion stems from seeing my closes friends being abused and neglected at home and not having anyone to talk to or give them the resources that they needed to cope or deal with the trauma that they were experiencing. My work practices and perspectives comes from knowing that changing the world starts with helping and being there for that one person, being able to empathize and be mindful of what they’ve gone through. I grew up in a home with very involved and loving parents, but as I got older, I realized not everyone was as lucky to have such an experience. Not everyone had a mentor or had that one person in school that they felt safe to speak to. I make sure that my students know that I have an open door policy and that I am here to guide them into the right direction and to be there to support them no matter what. Students are willing to be themselves when they have a meaningful connection with an trustworthy adult.
School social workers play a critical role in schools and educational settings. Advocating for the best interest of our students is what we strive for, as well as advocating for ourselves and the roles we play as an educational leader. Social workers must become their own marketing agents, if they are to gain exposure and acknowledgment throughout the school community. Self-advocacy is not always a skill that is cultivated in social workers.
In order to be involved and to self-advocate for myself, I know I have to have self-confidence to believe whatever I’m doing or asking for is what I deserve and what the school and our student needs. I’ve learned to never ask for less in order to increase my chances. My self-advocacy is for people to see the worth of my role.
Communicating what you believe in can be hard but I believe in the power of showing up an showing out, whether it’s going into every classroom presenting what my role is as social worker or presenting to administration what positive changes that I can bring to our campus and how I would implement them to even organizing workshops for students, teachers and parents to come together to see how my role benefits the school. The way we show up and present ourselves can really change the way people treat and look at us as social workers. If I’m ever in a space where I need to advocate for myself I feel that people are going to believe in me, if I believe in myself. The more I speak up, the more I believe it, the more others will believe it to. Whether ‘I’m doing a food pantry for our students and their families or I’m teaching parenting classes, I have the voice and power to try and make it happen.
Times have changed and my role as an educational leader is to provide resources, be a catalyst for change, mentor, be a part of district committees, work side by side with faculty and staff to improve the well being of the population we serve and the students we work with. Through mutual collaboration, meaningful and consistent social work practices schoolwide, it will ultimately enhance the learning experience for all student.
Using evaluation data in my practice so far has helped me improve my practice. The data that I collect tells me if my services are having an impact, if not, I would need to take a look at my interventions and take into consideration how my services and interventions can be more effective. For instance, if I had group sessions for students who have poor attendance and their attendance isn’t improving after implementing my intervention, I would need to examine what I need to do differently to meet my students educational needs.
Am I implementing a strategy in an ineffective way? Should I contiune my strategy or stop my strategy and start a new one? Would my practice target systemic change? Would it be benefical to my students? If so how? These are the questions I ask myself when practicing. Learning and researching what strategies that have the most empirical support is what I strive for.
Leadership and policy development is needed to engage in advocacy, generate resources as well as interdisciplinary collaborations. To take a larger role in policy development I would develop school leadership frameworks to improve policy and practice and If I were to present a new policy, I would have to understand the nature of policy, what type of power the policy holds and the strategies available to make the policy. When it comes to education leadership it’s important to encourage teachers and staff to promote teamwork, provide trainings, have teachers engage in activities in school and beyond the school.
When School social workers become successful in schools and in their districts it shows that students are having a successful educational experience. I’ve learned that I have the knowledge to make a difference as a leader in my school . Understanding the school systems and how it works as well as my compassion for students and their well-being . I can honestly say becoming a social worker was not in my plans. I wanted to be a Doctor, and I thought I could change the world by saving lives, and making people feel better. But then I met a school social worker and seeing what she had done, I instantly knew in my heart and in my bones that this is what I was meant to do. This out of everything I wanted to become this is what makes me different. There will always be a broken child out there and it’s the reality of it, but here I am working everyday doing my best to change a child’s reality and circumstances one day at a time, expanding my knowledge one class at a time all while loving myself and taking care of myself. At the end of the day, it all starts with me, I may not be able to save the entire world but I’m so grateful and blessed to be able to save others.
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