It’s that time of year again. The sun is getting just a little bit lower in the sky, the little league fields are emptying, and every other commercial on TV is for a new sale at the Gap. It must be back to school season! While most grown-ups may have long forgotten the particular joys and agonies of this time of year, having repressed them deep down inside along with any and all bathroom-related kindergarten incidents and hormones-gone-wild high school embarrassments, school-based therapists and nurses get to experience them over and over again! What a delight.
While you school healthcare professionals might like to believe a lot has changed for you since that fateful first day of 3rd grade when Billy Thompson gave you a swirly (yes, we know about that. The world will never forget), the truth is that going back to school is the same as it ever was for you. Skeptical? Here are a few aspects of going back to school that haven’t changed a bit since you were spritely, bright-eyed youth.
You’re still sad summer is over
Sure, like you and your most studious classmates back in the day, at least part of you is excited to arrive back at school to continue to enhance your knowledge and skills. But one of the perks of working as a school-based provider as opposed to other types of healthcare professionals—and possibly one of the myriad reasons you chose to become one in the first place—is that you generally get summers off. And it’s a good bet you spent your summer vacation the same way you did when you were a kid: chilling by the pool, catching up on your reading (although that probably means Reddit and Buzzfeed more than To Kill A Mockingbird these days), and binging on ice cream. If only it could last forever.
You still have tests to take
Nothing strikes dread into the hearts of impressionable young students like filing into the classroom on day one of the school year and hearing the teacher bark: “Pop quiz!” “Shoot,” they think to themselves, “Maybe I should have done the summer reading and reviewed my geography instead of irreparably burning out my corneas playing World of Warcraft for 14 hours a day.” Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about remembering your state capitols anymore, but if you haven’t kept track of your credentialing, you may still be in for a nasty surprise on the first day of school. Which is why, if your certifications aren’t up to date, you might have to spend back to school season going through the licensure renewal process, undergoing new trainings, or completing continuing education requirements. You don’t want to suffer the humiliation of the professional equivalent of being held back a grade, do you?
You still have to buy new supplies
Nothing screams “back to school” like the smell of a fresh pack of loose leaf paper or the feel of the point of a sharpened #2 pencil on your fingertip. You weren’t ready for school until you took that trip to the office supply store and convinced your mom to buy you what was sure to be the coolest pencil case in class. It’s not unlike today, when you need to make sure you have all the supplies you need to provide care to your students by the time school starts. That might mean just loading up on necessities like cotton balls and cough drops. But you should also look into snazzy new assistive technology that could enhance your students’ therapy sessions. It’ll be like that annual mid-August trip to Staples all over again.
You’re still excited to catch up with your friends
Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of working in school-based healthcare is getting to witness firsthand the tangible impact your care has on students’ lives and development. So when school begins, it can be exciting to see how they’ve grown over the summer, hear about what they’ve been up to, and dream on what you might be able to accomplish with them over the course of the school year. Plus, you’ll get to reconnect with the rest of the school staff you might have gotten close to, swap summer stories, and… hey, has the vice principal always been that cute? Maybe you should hang out…