Saturday, September 28, 2013


So I got a phone call yesterday from my student's practice teacher that they are not comfortable in their placement.

We are going to have a face to face meeting with the student to discuss.

I had a feeling. They've only been in one handful of days so far and it has been difficult to engage with them, and I haven't been sure how to even read them. They are a very quiet person but I have also been chalking that up to their being nervous, unsure of their role and just a little overwhelmed with what may (or may not!) be going on around them. In my program, tasks are not easily laid out. A lot of it is what you make of it---cultural stuff may be at play too.

Since I run several groups a day, I know how overwhelming that can be to someone who has never run them, let alone someone young and brand new to the field entirely. Because of that, I have been letting the student just observe a lot and a couple times they actually said "And this is social work related how.........."

I also told the professor that I suspect the issue may be that the student is a completely different cultural background from everyone else in the program, including me, an older female superior, which may be a huge part of the reason for their lack of comfort.

She was feeling the exact same thing.

The school DOES want to try to make it work because there really are so many learning opportunities where I am, and in the "real world" it's rare we can pick and choose who our co-workers and clients are going to be. Not only that but I work at a VERY desirable agency, so professionally, we could end up being the link to eventual employment.

So we shall see what will come of this. It's hoped that the student will be open-minded enough to see the bigger picture. And it is still SO SOON. Don't they say at a new job, on average it takes 3-6 months to start to feel at ease?

I have already decided however that if they don't want to stay, I'm going to drop the SIFI class for now and not request another student, until MAYBE spring semester, if not next year entirely.

And then I think I can see the benefits of having someone who is a second year student so will throw that idea out there too.

If you are a field instructor have you run into similar issues with new students?

Any advice?

So far I've given them a couple of tasks and assignment that I hope will help them to see how important my program is for clients and their families. I also hope that the assignments will open their eyes up a little more to the elements of social work that are VERY apparent.

I still haven't received back their first assignment however (one page summary of what they are hoping to get out of placement this year) so that too is concerning for me.

Perhaps they aren't the right fit if they are already this "difficult" (and I HATE to even use that term) we say as social workers....if we are doing more work than our clients.........

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hello again friends

Well my student started. They were only in one day because the school was closed the rest of the week for the Jewish holidays.

While they appeared to like it, I feel this week will be the true test since they will be there for the full three days.

I asked them if they see themselves returning and they said "they think so but will need to see". (Don't know how to interpret THAT).

I know with first year students, things can be pretty shaky in the beginning.

Just remembering back to my first placement, we had some people drop out the first couple of weeks, stating social work was NOT for them.

I also got to speak with my SIFI professor who was very understanding about my need to miss the first day of class. At first, she said "just leave your student some articles to read". I was like "I can't. I would need to leave them alone with the group for an hour. On their FIRST day. I don't think that is okay". She chuckled then and said I made a great call and should absolutely not come to class.

She emailed me the syllabus and I ordered and already received the book and have begun looking over my assignments.

It all seems pretty straightforward, and I am hoping I can stay on top of everything, because I feel like all things social work in my life are beginning to pile up.

I have quite a few service plans due for my contract job and need to find some time this weekend to just suck it up and get them done, because it's nice to be able to sock that extra money away for if we need it.

Speaking of money, my supervisor also told us we are getting a 2.something percent cost of living raise in October. It probably will only average out to be a few extra $$$ per paycheck, but it still made me smile from ear to ear.

It's SO nice to finally be working in a place where I feel appreciated.

And a place where I also have real supervision.

Every week we meet and she always asks me if I'm happy with my choice, because she's happy with my choice :)

It's like night and day people. Night and day.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

It's in the mail!

Mailed out my LMSW application this morning to the NYS Department of Education Office of the Professions.

Now I can sit back and wait for the go ahead to take the test.

And continue studying, of course.

My MSW student is supposed to start on Monday and I attended day 1 of the SIFI orientation earlier this week.

I am hoping they aren't going to be pissed with me. I am going to already have to miss the first official day of class. It will only be the intern's second day on the job, and as a program, we are not comfortable leaving him alone for even just the hour he would be alone for, with up to 15 clients, some who can be a handful.

I emailed the school yesterday and asked for them to put me in contact with the professor so I can get a copy of the syllabus and pick up the book to begin my assignments. Since I have to go through the secretary I am sure this is going to be an interesting response.........she's already been somewhat difficult to deal with. This is the same lady who told me I would be "breaking the law" if I took the SIFI class, since I do not yet have my license.

I don't know about anyone else, but I am convinced that most secretaries who work in college settings do not know what they are talking about half the time, and the other half, they purposely try to mess with students to stress them out even more. I remember those days fondly from undergrad and grad. Financial aide departments especially come to mind.....

Anyway, one of the other social workers attending though has told me we are allowed up to 3 absences. She has completed the 1st day already and this is what she was told by the professor.

Anyone else experience this before during your SIFI training?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Haven't disappeared

I just haven't had too many exciting things to share.

I'm moving forward with getting the MSW student in a couple of weeks. With that responsibility, also involves me stepping up my LMSW game. I've been studying like crazy lately for that. I also signed up to take a one day "boot camp" class in the beginning of October, and also purchased the study guide which seems pretty helpful so far (Now just need to make the time to sit down and read it!).

I feel fortunate that I do have a lot of down time at work which will allow me to study a bit for my exam.

The practice tests I've taken so far, have showed I need to focus on all that theory and psychology basics stuff, since those are a lot of the answers I either do not remember, or end up getting wrong.

I also have to learn what exactly the question is asking, and remember the role of the social worker, too. (i.e. first meeting with client, the social worker should do this......).

I have been eh-ish with keeping up with the gym lately, but I did manage to go the other night late (who wants to get up super early anyways?) and I also did finally return back to my yoga mat yesterday morning after taking the whole summer off.

It really made me miss being away for so long and I realized I NEED to make more of an effort to get back to my happy yoga place.

I can't believe the summer is winding down already.

What have you been up to lately?

Any exciting plans coming up this fall?