Meet my arch nemesis: the “read dog.”
(Except picture it smaller, scragglier, blacker, on its back, and more breathy). I would not be unhappy were this dog to get struck by a car, or a bolt of lightening. And this is coming from someone who once cried for days after drowning an ant.
Let’s back up. I hate Wednesdays. Which is possibly a result of the world trying to re-balance itself to make up for the irrational extent to which I used to love Wednesdays.
On Wednesdays I do therapy at an elementary school that has no room for me to do therapy. Not that any of my schools have room for me to do therapy. The best situation I have is my Monday/Thursday/Friday school, which gives me a very narrow storage closet that has bar-style seating up against a two-way mirror, which my clients like to press their noses and mouths against so that they can give me second-by-second updates on the kids in the room on the other side who are making faces back at them. You might think this problem could be solved by merely covering the length of the mirror/window with bulletin board paper, but you would be wrong. The kids just stand on top of the table (bar) to look over the paper. Confidentiality, anyone?
But that’s my best case scenario. Back to Wednesdays. There are no empty rooms. There just aren’t. Every Wednesday I feel kind of like a modern-day, more anger-proned Mary and Joseph trudging around warily, looking for an inn at which to birth the savior.
Whenever I can, I try to snag the front conference room at the office, even though its walls are just windows looking out into the office and that from inside I can hear everything that happens in the office and vise versa. Sometimes the guidance counselor interrupts these sessions just to eat from the M&M jar. “Do you ever just crave chocolate?” she asks as we take a break from exploring the horrific disappointments of life to listen to her chew. Confidentiality, anyone?
But lately I have been losing this room to the read dog. Its a dog that comes in once a week (Wednesdays…) so that kids who have trouble reading can read to this non-judgmental audience one-on-one while it lays on his back breathing loudly.
Everyone but me seems to be in agreement that reading to a dog is a situation deserving of a private setting, but that therapy can be easily moved out into the hallway. Confidentiality, anyone?
Four out of five mornings a week I wake up in an anxious sweat thinking that it’s Wednesday.
I begged the principal to let me have a table and two chairs in the storage trailer out back (not a sentence I thought I’d have to use after earning a Masters degree), but it never came to fruition.
So I asked the custodian if he could just put a table and chairs in this random space between two doorways. I guess he interpreted “table” to mean tiny desk, but… tah dah! My new office:
“Where are we going?” my client asked today as I started walking with him toward my new office.
“Well,” I said. “It’s a new room. It’s… cozy. It’s… simple. Oh! It has a view of the outdoors! Its kind of like a garage. Do you like garages?”
When we stepped inside, the kid said, “Eww, this room makes me want to puke!”
Sometimes I worry that my clients have about the most non-therapeutic experience it is possible to have while still technically receiving therapy.
So I’m thinking about quitting therapy to become a read dog.
1. Confidential space
2. More respect for your craft
3. More helpful to children
4. Free food
5. No paperwork