Joy. Fear. Pain. Thankfulness. Worry. Relief
These are just a few of the emotions associated with termination, and despite the “scary” name, coming to a closing place with your students, families and staff can actually be very rewarding for the practitioner– more importantly it is a gift to the client.
Remembering the Past, Embracing the Future.
Why is termination important? Because it honors the work that has been done and acknowledges the forthcoming change in relationship. Maybe the client has mastered his or her goals and does not need one on one support any more at this time. OR perhaps he or she is moving to a new school. But even if neither of those things happen, we in the education biz, tend to have a little thing called summer vacation (hoorah) which necessitates some type of closure even if the relationship is bound to start up again next fall.
One function of termination is to help students to review and generalize the skills which have been developed with the social worker. For this reason, I like to end with some tangible reminder of our time that can be framed, kept and referred back to as needed. I have done termination stones, Strength Trees, coloring books, scrapbooks, toolboxes, mini-art galleries and briefcases. Below is a sample termination activity for a leadership group I recently concluded. The students requested briefcases for their goodbye activity, so I gathered up all of our previously used materials and came up with this closing activity in which each girl had to match the activity with a leadership concept we had learned and practiced together.
Girls Leadership Group: “Girl Power”
Leaders get to know themselves and each other.
Leaders can see things from many different perspectives:
Leaders do not show prejudice.
Leaders know how to communicate in ways that are just right (assertiveness vs. passivity or aggression)
Leaders can give good directions and follow other people’s directions.
Leaders have strategies to cope with conflict.
Leaders use their influence to help not to harm.
So, call me the terminator because this is just one of many fun ways that I’ve found to say goodbye to students and remind families to continue the work at home. Because if they don’t do it then the chances are good that next year (cue schwarzenneger impression) I’ll be back.