Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Learning Not to Rant: Q&A WITH ESTEBAN WALSTRUM

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Learning Not to Rant: Q&A WITH ESTEBAN WALSTRUM

Article excerpt

Esteban Lee Walstrum, NCSP, is a school psychologist for the Hawaii Department of Education's School-Based Behavioral Health program on O'ahu's Leeward side in Hawaii. He is also the NASP delegate for the State of Hawaii and cochair of the NASP Early Career Committee.

What was one experience you can share as an "early career problem?"

My early career problem moment was being called into the principal's office for behavior problems. My issue was as simple as not knowing when to be quiet; I had a behavioral excess. During meetings I ranted about how everybody in the room was doing things I thought were either wrong, or simply incorrect.

Being ayoung professional with the best intentions and book smarts (without much experience), I neglected to recognize the importance of fostering and maintaining office culture.

I had to change the way I delivered my message, especially being a "new guy" and being from a different part of the country. I had to value my collegial relationships to the same degree that I valued helping students.

Who did you turn to for support?

Initially, my boss had to inform me about my behavior and how it was impacting others. Being from a different ethnic culture, I realized my reaction to problems was not necessarily shared by all of my colleagues. I had to integrate different points of view and respect the dynamics of how my peers, professionals who had been working together for many years, contributed to positive outcomes.

Additionally, I called my professors to get their feedback. Working as a school psychologist in Hawaii was the first time in my life where I was a minority. I grew up around people who were similar ethnically, and it wasn't until I moved out my comfort zone that my professor's lectures about cultural competence really connected with me.

Finally, I contacted my McNair program director from my undergraduate studies. …

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