There is nothing comparable to hands-on experience. As I stated in my last post, one of the things that sets MSPP apart from other school psychology graduate programs is practicum placements in the first year. Without having the opportunity to work in a school two days a week, I would be sitting in classes learning about testing protocols and reading disabilities while wondering what it was all for. Thanks to my placement at an elementary school, I am able to apply what I learn to real-life situations, and in turn add to classroom lessons by contributing personal experiences.
This first year, I am working at an elementary school observing in classrooms, going to meetings, doing testing, and writing reports. The observing part is actually much more than just watching. I will become an integral part of the students' learning experience. The teacher and children will count on me to be there every week to help out as needed. As someone who has never worked with kids before, I find it very challenging. It is hard to know what to say or do in certain situations. But I am new to this and I know it will get easier as time goes on.
My second year (three days per week) I will work in either a middle school or a high school, and for my third year I will be able to choose to work full time in an elementary, middle or high school anywhere in the country. Of course, I will most likely stay in this area but it is interesting to think about. The nice thing is that some of the third year internships, particularly ones outside of Massachusetts, do pay.
It has been starting to get busy here at school and my schedule is starting to become stable enough to write a general itinerary of what my week looks like. I will most likely be posting that next week. Until next time!