By: Carol Kramer, Northeast Regional Representative for WSPA
Quite a few years ago, I discovered that ‘perspective’ has a great deal to do with how a person perceives and reacts to his world. Now, that is hardly a revolutionary idea as I’m sure most of us realize that ‘perspective’ is merely a particular attitude toward something, a way of regarding something, and/or a point of view. Some synonyms for ‘perspective’ include: outlook, view, viewpoint, standpoint, position, stand, stance, angle, slant, attitude, frame of mind, frame of reference, approach, way of looking, and interpretation.
What makes ‘perspective’ so very interesting to me is that ‘perspective changing’ is something that we as school psychologists often teach our students. That teaching or coaching, if you will, is often very successful with children of all ages. I’ve taught ‘perspective changing’ to elementary students with great success and I found even better success with high school students. I would literally ask a student for his ‘perspective’ on something going on in his life. That something was usually a difficult situation or a belief of that situation. With minimal teaching to move his ‘perspective’ only a few degrees to the left or to the right, he was able to change his ‘perspective’ ever so slightly and yet just enough to see a different angle to the situation or belief. The student would often have the ‘ah-ha’ look on his face as he realized that he was capable of changing his ‘perspective’. What a wonderful thing to share with our students!
I have tried to change the ‘perspective’ of some of the school psychologists in the northeast section of Wyoming, with very little success. I have illustrated to them that to tap into other school psychologist’s perspectives on issues, situations, or beliefs, it would be beneficial for them to become active members of the Wyoming School Psychology Association. A while back, I presented the ‘perspective’ to them regarding something that I learned during my leadership training with the National Association of School Psychologists. I will never forget that the National Association of School Psychologists is just that ~~ it consists ‘OF’ school psychologists, not ‘FOR’ school psychologists. That preposition means a great deal to the NASP leadership and to us who serve on the board for the Wyoming School Psychology Association.
How well I know that life can get in the way of one’s commitment to his fellow school psychologists! I have had to step back a bit from WSPA in my semi-retirement, as family issues and health concerns have taken my undivided attention. I do believe, however, that whenever possible a person should step away from his narrow perspective to collaborate with his colleagues. That ‘perspective changing’ will not only better the person, but the person will also become part of something much bigger than himself.
Hello, and thank you Carol! As I read this I was thinking about colleagues I work with, mainly teachers, some of whom have great perspectives on the upcoming school year and others who have a negative perspective of the upcoming school year. I can’t help but feel bad for those negative outlookers as the perspective they came in with will likely set the tone for their entire school year and also likely to impact their students. I have tried very hard this year to change my perspective coming into this year as I have a new baby at home that was hard to leave. Yet, I have two great interns this year who deserve a supervisor with a positive outlook. This has helped me greatly at the beginning of this year. I hope you and other school psychs can all start with a positive perspective on the upcoming school year and let that shape your experience this year. Additionally, let that positive perspective influence colleagues and students.