Video | 00:33:00

A Day in the Life of a School Social Worker

by School Social Work Association of America
Want a surefire way to know if school social work is for you? In this video you’ll get to experience a day with several school social workers and see firsthand how they support and give voice to struggling children.


    A Day in the Life of a School Social Worker
    What’s a day in the life of a school social worker like? This video takes us intimately into the lives of two school social workers, one working in a suburban area and the other in a city.

    The video’s documentary style allows you to witness minute-by-minute interactions with students, teachers, and other staff, and to see how school social workers are involved in every level of systems: micro, mezzo and macro. Through touching interviews with high school students whose lives have been impacted by their school social worker, you’ll be able to see just how crucial this role is. Teachers and other staff talk about how relieving and impactful it is to have the school social worker when a behavior or concern becomes too large to manage in a classroom—and how the school social worker assists them in supporting the student.

    In the midst of all of this, the school social workers continue to reassess whether the service and systems that are in place are the best they could be, as well as how to make them better.

    School social workers have four distinct but overlapping roles: Consultation, direct practice, assessment and program development. While school staff see different parts of a student—the teacher sees the academic side, the school nurse sees medical issues, the recess supervisor see how children interact with peers, etc.—the school social worker focuses on the whole child.

    The video’s documentary style allows you to witness minute-by-minute interactions with students, teachers, and other staff. See how the school social worker is involved in every level of systems: micro, mezzo and macro. Through touching interviews with high school students whose lives have been impacted by their school social worker, you’ll be able to see just how crucial this role is. Teachers and other staff talk about how relieving and impactful it is to have the school social worker when a behavior or concern becomes too large to manage in a classroom, and describe exactly how social workers assist them in supporting kids.

    In the midst of these various interactions, school social workers are continuously assessing whether the service and systems that are in place are the best they could be, as well as how to make them better.
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    The joy and excitement that school social workers bring to their job—and the pain and frustration they experience—are all presented is in this video. You’ll hear how they cope with hearing about trauma, how they refuse to sugarcoat bad news, and how they relentlessly advocate for students.

    More than just paying lip-service to the concept of self-care, this video shows how two school social workers ensure that they find time in their challenging schedules to take care of themselves—whether by going for a run, heading to Venice Beach for the waves, or talking through difficult cases with colleagues.

    Not novel to social work, but inescapable in the school setting, is the skill of collaborating well with colleagues outside of social work. In this video you’ll see several examples of social workers needing input and providing assistance to classroom teachers, principals and the school nurse. School social workers also interact with law enforcement, psychologists, and child welfare workers—and almost always with the childrens’ families.

    Many school social workers bring their work with them outside the school’s confines. With the understanding that everything outside of school has an impact on a child, the school social worker can be a bridge to family issues by making home visits and including caregivers in their work.

    After watching this video you’ll:
    • Have a strong understanding of the many roles a school social worker plays and the skills needed for these roles.
    • Be able to describe how a school social worker affects systems on the micro, mezzo and macro levels.
    • Understand the importance of having a school social worker amidst all the other school based professions.
    Length of video: 00:33:00
    English subtitles available on: Stream
    Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-474-6
    Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-474-1
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