Carol Park, the School Psychologist: Interview Analysis

The professional I interviewed for this assignment is Carol Park, a school psychologist currently working at Montebello Unified School for nine years. Carol has a Bachelor’s degree in Business but, after several years in the corporate world, decided to switch majors and get a Master’s degree in educational psychology. Credentials that allow her to work in the K-12 setting include a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology and an Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology received at Chapman University in San Diego. Apart from the current occupation as a school psychologist, Carol plans to return to grad school and earn a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology. This goal signifies a full commitment to continuing a career in educational psychology with an emphasis on school populations.

My reasons for interviewing this specific person were manifold, but the main motivations included my intent to work in the same field and get a firsthand perspective on the difficulties that come with the job. To begin with, I want to work as a school psychologist myself, which is why I firmly intended to interview someone working in this specific setting from the very beginning. Secondly, school psychology is a field that relies heavily on practical application – the entire rationale for the discipline’s existence is to provide help to students. Hence, I was determined to interview a professional with sufficient work experience and an established workplace routine to learn more about the profession from a purely practical, application-oriented standpoint. Thirdly, educational psychology was not the original area of interest for the interviewee, who received her Bachelor’s degree in Business. In this respect, it was an inspiration to interview someone who had to overcome additional difficulties related to switching majors. Naturally, apart from this inspiration, I also felt a little nervous because I essentially talked to someone I aspire to be one day.

The three themes that emerged throughout the interview and that the interviewee mentioned specifically and elaborated on were those of organization, care, and mindfulness. From the interviewee’s standpoint, being organized is particularly essential for the job because working as a school psychologist entails a considerable amount of paperwork. It is probably telling that the ability to always be organized came up first when I asked to name three essential qualities for working in the field. The theme of caring permeated the entire interview – as mentioned above, there is hardly a reason to work as a school psychologist unless one cares about the student’s psychological well-being. The interviewee stressed the necessity to understand each student’s situation and work on this basis. As for mindfulness, being able to understand another person’s perspective also came up as crucial for the job. Both mindfulness and caring align fully with my vision of myself in the profession, as they are the core of educational psychology. I also view being organized as necessary, but I am a bit wary of the paperwork it is supposed to serve not to become bureaucracy for bureaucracy’s sake.

Working as a school psychologist has its benefits and drawbacks, and both were discussed in the interview. One significant benefit mentioned was the flexible schedule allowing to manage one’s responsibilities, such as testing and counseling students, planning meetings, and writing reports, more efficiently. Another positive aspect that the interviewee mentioned was the opportunity of working with the students individually, which allows getting to know them and understanding each case much better. As for the drawbacks, the interviewee listed the high workload on the top of the list, even pointing out that there can easily be not enough time to complete all of the day’s tasks. Another drawback mentioned was the sometimes stressful nature of the job, with its multiple pending deadlines.

Based on the drawbacks discussed, one may note that one general area of concern when working in the field is burnout. Indeed, research suggests that most school psychologists experience it at least once during their careers (Schilling et al., 2018). Another concern associated with the job is cooperation with the school administration, which will not always be perfect (Schilling et al., 2018). Not having enough hours in a day to complete all tasks involved and racing from one deadline to another may be a sign of less-than-efficient organization of the job process and lack of support from the administration. Since every school’s setting has its own peculiarities, it would be presumptuous to devise universal recipes for dealing with these issues. Personally, I think that the best one can do is to prepare for them, since it is quite likely one will encounter them sooner or later.

Speaking of the tools and approaches used on the job, the interviewee once again stressed that each student’s case is individual, which means that methods should be chosen appropriately. Depending on the student, one may employ a visual, kinesthetic, or auditory approach to use the modality that best fits the case at hand. A multi-sensory approach is also a distinct possibility when the case dictates it. Whatever the specific approach, Carol repeatedly stressed that the first step and the cornerstone for the entire work is getting the student’s confidence. Unless the student is prepared to put his or her trust in the school psychologist, no amount of theoretical knowledge will help.

Regarding the factors that can provide encouragement and support in academic and training experience in educational psychology, Carol mentioned the organization of the process and the mentor’s help. As noted above, educational psychology is a very practice-oriented field focused very much on the application of knowledge. It means that the person had to put hundreds of hours of work into the internship while continuing to study. Juggling work and education can be quite challenging and stressful, which is why being organized helps a future school psychologist greatly. Apart from that, Carol also emphasized the importance of a good mentor in supporting her early steps in the profession. As she points out, the first years of working as an educational psychologist involve a huge learning curve, and having a highly qualified mentor during the internship provides one with knowledge and guidance. These words resonated with my conviction that, in such a field as educational psychology, a focus of practice and application should be a cornerstone element of professional education.

Speaking about the motivation to go on, the interviewee mentioned the opportunity to get to know the students individually. When asked about the positive sides of working as a school psychologist, Carol pointed it out specifically as one of the best things in her job. According to her, it was not merely important from a purely professional standpoint as the means of finding a way to help students better. Apart from this – admittedly important – aspect, she also finds genuine joy in getting to know the students better and learning more about them as persons. Apparently, the very possibility of such personal interactions can be an important motivating factor in a school psychologist’s work.

Pursuing a career in school psychology, I would like to make a contribution to using multicultural approaches in the field. As of now, school populations are becoming increasingly diverse and feature students from a broad array of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The interviewee also notes that no two students are exactly alike, which most likely refers to cultural diversity, among other things. What I would like to do for the betterment of the field is to explore and promote the use of multiculturalism in school settings. Research suggests that multicultural elements are crucial in school settings, especially within the consultation role (Proctor, 2018). With this in mind, I hope to make a meaningful and useful contribution to the field of educational psychology by expanding the understanding and improving the application of multicultural approaches.

To summarize, the interview conducted with Carol Park, an experienced school psychologist from Montebello Unified School, provided me with a much-needed glimpse into a school psychologist’s work, which is my intended career choice. My interviewee emphasized the necessity of being organized, caring, and mindful and mentioned some important perks of the job while not shying away from its shortcomings. She also stressed the crucial importance of having a good mentor as an intern ad finding a motivation to keep up in order to avoid burnout. The interviewee’s answers largely coincided with my image of the profession, and I hope they will guide me to make a meaningful contribution for the betterment of the field.


Proctor, S. L. (2018). Multicultural foundations. In Grapin, S. L., & Kranzler, J. H., School psychology: Professional issues and practices (pp. 61-76). Springer.

Schilling, E. J., Randolph, M., & Boan-Lenzo, C. (2018). Job burnout in school psychology: How big is the problem? Contemporary Social Psychology, 22, 324-331.

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