Working in Schools

School Therapists’ Influence on Policies Like Homework

Schools are constantly changing from year to year. This may include altering curriculum, procedures, and policies. Over the last few decades, the educational reform movement has grown across the United States. With this reform, the Common Core State Standards and their implementation have been a major focus in classrooms and districts in recent years. As these new standards move into buildings, many school therapists are noting changes in their students. More specifically, kids appear to be more stressed and anxious.

When children are stressed, they may not know who to turn to. If there are trusted relationships with school counselors, they may be willing to talk to these valued members of the school community.  School therapists have noticed a shift in stress levels of students in recent years. The pressure to perform, take more high stakes tests, and do additional homework has taken a toll on kids at even the elementary level. Many children are anxious, tired, upset, and worried about not doing well enough. When therapists hear these concerns, they are able to gather data to bring back to the team of teachers and administrators.

Perhaps an overwhelming number of early elementary school children and parents have noted a large increase in homework. With the increased demands in the classroom, many teachers feel the need to send additional work home for students to complete.  School therapists are able to work with teachers to see if there are ways to assist students who may have a difficult time completing it at home for one reason or another. They could suggest the formation of after school groups for students to work together. During this time, they may mention having music or a brief time to exercise and release nervous energy. Study groups that include some fun activities, in addition to the work, may benefit everyone involved. In addition to this, therapists in the buildings may be able to advocate for their kids to see about changing the amount of homework given all the time.

Teachers within schools need to work with school therapists if they sense something may be happening in their classrooms. Paying special attention and making time to chat with them is important for everyone involved. School therapists and counselors will be able to talk to students and make additional observations during the school day. Then the team may be able to work on a plan together that will be presented to the principal or board of education about more long term adjustments that are needed for student success.

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