dcsimg

Career Story: Middle School Social Worker

Middle School Social Worker

Job Title: School Social Worker

Type of Company: I work in a urban school district in a city with a population of about 100,000 people. My school is located in the poorest neighborhood with immigrants from several war-torn countries.

Education: BS, Social Science, Michigan State University •• MSW, Michigan State University

Previous Experience: I worked as a social worker in the emergency room of a hospital for four years before taking my current job in a public middle school.

Job Tasks: Any of the approximately 500 students in my school can be referred to me for social work services. The school has students in the fifth through the eighth grades and about 90% of them live in poverty. I see students during family crises brought on by deaths in the family, domestic violence, cases of abuse or neglect and other traumas. When a student is referred to me his teacher may know what the problem is or he may just be concerned that the student is behaving oddly. It's my job to figure out why: to get at what is going on. In cases of neglect or abuse I have to file a report with the state and get assistance for the family. That is to say, I'm a mandated reporter, just as doctors, nurses, daycare providers and teachers are. Once I've figured out what the problem is exactly I can refer the student for help. I call or meet with his guardian and may refer him to an outside agency for weekly counseling or, if the student is suicidal, to a hospital for an emergency evaluation.

Some students I see weekly at school either individually or in a group to provide support and monitor their needs. I also do home visits to meet with students and their families regarding poor attendance at school. This is often a symptom of a larger problem that I need to get help for. I have also gone to court as a witness when students have disclosed sexual abuse to me, especially if I am the first person they told. At Christmas I help organize a food and gift drive for some of our poorest families. We had a food drive this past year and staff donated money so I could shop for clothes and toys. At my school we do whatever is necessary to help our students stay safe and succeed academically. It is a rewarding job and the kids are great!

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is seeing a student overcome obstacles and succeed. I had one student who failed seventh grade after missing almost 90 days of school. I worked at finding out why she was staying home and formed a relationship with her and her mother. The next year her attendance dramatically improved and she was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society!

The worst part of my job is hearing about all the abuse that these students have had to endure and finding myself unable, on occasion, to help them. One of our students, for example, was shot and killed by a gang member. There's nothing that even the best-intended intervention can do about that.

Job Tips: Social work has many different facets: medical, school, geriatric, family counseling, crisis work, etc. When in school try to get exposed to as many types as possible so you will be able to find your interest.

Get good supervision when doing your practicum! We did process recordings that we went over with our supervisor and that was invaluable! Even though it is difficult to write everything down that you and your client said in a session, the feedback you will get from a good supervisor will help you your whole career.

Learn a second language, since social workers often work with immigrants who do not speak English. I was able to get both of my jobs thanks to fluency in Spanish.

Additional Thoughts: You need to be a good listener, but also able to ask the right questions. I may have a hunch about what is going on with a student and if I ask they will often tell me. I have found that if you can't put your finger on the problem, it often has to do with alcohol, drugs, or domestic violence. Ask those questions!

Popular Schools offering Social Work Programs

quickinfoClick the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab. .

Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school

Matching School Ads

We are committed to helping you achieve your goals and complete your degree as quickly as possible.

  • Programs: Bachelor of Science: Social Work, MA Human Services: Military Resilience, MA Human Services: Christian Ministry, more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master, Doctorate

Experience an education that helps you realize your potential in a way that fits you best. Request more information about Post University today.

  • Programs: B.S. in Human Services / Human Services Management, B.S. in Human Services, B.S. in Human Services / Health and Community Services, more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor

Does the Human Mind Fascinate You? Study Psychology at Grand Canyon University - Bachelor's and Master's Degrees Available!

  • Programs: M.S. in Professional Counseling with an Emphasis in Childhood and Adolescence Disorders, Graduate Certificate of Completion in Life Coaching, M.S. in Christian Counseling, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Certificate

100% online degrees from Ashford University

  • Programs: BA in Health and Human Services, BA in Health and Human Services - Health Care Informatics Systems Specialization, BA in Health and Human Services - Long-Term Care Specialization
  • Degrees: Bachelor

Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose.

  • Programs: Certificate in Trauma
  • Degrees: Certificate

The MSW@USC is the first top-ranked MSW program offered nationally. Many online programs are limited to certain geographic areas or the availability of courses, making it necessary to travel to campus. Our program can be completed from virtually anywhere without the need to relocate to Southern California.

  • Programs: Master of Social Work
  • Degrees: Master

Our Lady of the Lake University is a private, Catholic university with a deep connection to the history and community of San Antonio.

  • Programs: Master of Social Work (MSW) Degree
  • Degrees: Master

Why Choose Widener University?

At Widener University, we proudly cultivate challenging and culturally diverse learning environments where academics, leadership, and service come first. Our curricula are connected to societal issues and challenge students to take social responsibility for their role in today's global society.

  • Programs: Masters of Social Work
  • Degrees: Master

SocialWork@Simmons is an innovative, online Master of Social Work program offered through the Simmons School of SocialWork, the nation’s oldest school of social work. Complete your MSW in as little as 15 months with this CSWE-accredited program. No GRE required.

  • Programs: Master of Social Work
  • Degrees: Master

Founded in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national public research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher learning.

  • Programs: Online Master of Social Work
  • Degrees: Master
Matching School Ads
You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Family And School Social Workers, including:

Back to Top