Monday, September 27, 2010

Turns out, it's not all me...

So, I've been thinking about the difficulties that I had last week. I went back into the team setting, looking at the behavior of all of the folks that I work with in that setting. While my attitude is not the best in that setting, there were other things at play.

The interns did a good job of playing games. They ran around and spent lots of time interacting with students - exactly what they should have been doing the week before. It was good to see that they had decided to get involved. It saved us a talk. They still spent some time standing against the wall, but only after most kids had left the session. It was a relief that we didn't have to have "that" talk.

The physical education staff is burned out. All of their interactions with students are centered around what kids are not doing right. There is very little that is positive in the gym these days. The situation is such that both the teacher and the para educator are tired of being teachers. They are unable to find new jobs (truthfully, they have not looked very hard), and they complain that they are stuck in a horrible position.

I like my job. Sure, there are things that drive me crazy about it - the principal is not effective as a leader, communication and teamwork has deteriorated, people seem to be using my music room when I am not around - but there are other things that I still love.

I love working with my kids and my interns. The joy of making music continues to tickle me. I enjoy developing new things to do to reach therapeutic aims and goals. I love spending time teaching and therapizing. So, I have decided that I need to take a preemptive strike and remove myself from the toxic situation centered in the gym.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Getting over myself...

The self that I bring to my interactions at work is often difficult to describe. I am human and sometimes get in a snit over small things. For example, on Friday I was irked that my new interns, recovering from behavior management training, were not interacting with kids during their day. I had asked them to join the activity, and they did not. Then, I got irked because the other two "team mates" on the team, people who are supposed to be good role models, were not participating either. What a mess. So, I spent time sitting in my office eating junk for lunch. I did not address this issue with anyone but one of the team mates that I mentioned earlier. She responded, "we all have had times where we sat on our butts." I agree with that, but responded, "Not after a direct request from my supervisor."

There are several things that contributed to the emergence of this particular self. I am not feeling well for no apparent reason. This is a major situation as I am stuck by symptoms at any particular time. The pain often takes over and leaves me breathless. The second thing is PMS.

I have been able to recognize times when I am not fit for human interaction. I take myself out of the interaction situation and go into isolation. I spend time away from others and work through my snit. I have worked through the snit at this point, but I still feel that the situation needs to be addressed. I will give the interns the benefit of the doubt and give them one more week to demonstrate that this was a fluke rather than a pattern. If it is a pattern, there will be no holding back.

My therapeutic self is generally pretty even keeled. I am able to handle clients with extreme aggressive behaviors in a calm and consistent manner. I am able to problem solve, adapt, and engage clients in nonphysical and unemotional ways. I pride myself on being appropriate in difficult situations. There are times, however, when other things and presences take over.

How can we, as therapists, handle those times when the human-ness takes the therapist over?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

And so it begins...

My new interns started two days ago. I always start them off on a Friday because it is the day where I do not have to do as much therapy as Monday through Thursday. Interns arrive, get a brief tour as we turn in paperwork to HR, and then we move into Music, Movement, Art and Rhythmic Sensations (MMARS). For the next 5 hours, interns get to run around playing games with all of the students that attend school at my facility. Then, after we have played tag, sang songs, completed an art project, attempted to develop our gross motor coordination. we move into orientation. The end of the day, after I have staggered the poor things with 4 pages of assignments, the dismissal policy, and other orientation information, I always ask for questions. The interns never have any.

These two have some advantages and some disadvantages.

The advantages -
  • I have had a nice long break from being an internship director. That is a good thing and something that I will schedule in from now on...
  • I have really thought about my training style and philosophy
  • I have revamped my forms and assignments, linking them to the AMTA Professional Competencies
  • The interns will be going through this experience together - for the first time I have started with two at the same time rather than staggering intern's start dates
  • They will have each other for the duration of the internship - always before, interns have bonded really strongly with one of their co-interns, but not the other.
The disadvantages -
  • I have never had two interns start at the same time - this new experience will be interesting, but I think I will like it...
  • Some things that I have changed are too new for me to remember
  • There is no clear way to determine who gets the good chair and who gets the bad chair...
  • They will have each other for the duration of the internship - this could be a problem if they do not like each other
My pledges to my interns:
  • There will always be chocolate
  • I will be the best supervisor that I can be
  • I will encourage each intern to develop her own philosophy of music therapy and style of practice
I hope that this experience will be a good one for both of the interns as well as myself. Here's to the next 7 months!!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Home, sick

Yesterday and today I have called in sick from work. I tend to get sick quite a bit during the course of my job - a combination of kid germs, allergies, and a predisposition to respiratory issues. What is unusual for me is the need and willingness to take two days off in a row.

Needless to say, I am going to be the subject of much conjecture at work today. Taking one day off is not that unusual, but two in a row? Before a school holiday? Hmmmm. There will be some who will think that I am off on some wild adventure (HA!). Others will grump and grouse that they would have liked to have taken the time off, too.

I am a firm believer in the use of sick days when they are needed. My current ailment requires me to remain in a reclining position for much of the time while battling a low grade fever. I do not know if I am contagious, but you can bet that if I am, the same ones grumping and grousing in the previous paragraph would be grumping and grousing about how I shared my germs with every one. I certainly do not want to share germs with someone else just because he or she wants to maintain perfect attendance. While that person may rarely be sick, someone like me gets every germ and does not need more.

So, I am sitting here in the stupor of my second day at home, starting to feel cabin fever rise along with my temperature. What to do? Start making visual aids for my music therapy groups and business. Or, read another murder mystery. Or, watch some mindless television through Netflix. Or, leave the apartment to drop off movies and pick up analgesics? Oh, the list is endless!

Let me put you out of your misery, poor readers, and close.

Be healthy, and, if not, STAY HOME!