New City. New Job. New Insights.

Hello long lost blog. You have been sorely neglected these past few years. It's been 6 months since I went back to work. After 2 years of full time mommyhood, I decided I had to dip my foot back in. I only work 10 hours per week so I still consider myself full-time mom with a little bit of SLP spice on the side.

I'm so happy to be back in the speech language pathology world, but I tell you what, it was a rude awakening. Once again I'm reminded of the incredible juggling act all speech language pathologists engage in. So just FYI you are all the coolest. Seriously, SLPs are an incredible breed. In my new job I don't get to work with other SLPs which is kind of a bummer. But I'm learning to love the opportunities in my new position to collaborate with other professionals in their fields, and there is just nothing, NOTHING as cool as watching a child gain confidence in communication. It is amazing.

My new position has me researching aspects of our field such as autism, early language development and augmentative alternative communication in much more depth than my past experiences. I am excited to write down a few things I have learned this year. However, I have to admit, the more I learn the more I realize that I have so much to learn. When I was freshly out of my graduate program I was so excited and I thought I had all the answers. Now, my eyes are more fully open to the fact that I will always have so much more to learn. I have my education and experience to thank for a good base knowledge, but there is just so much to learn. It's something I really love about our profession.

I will attempt to keep track of some of the lessons I am learning professionally on this little webspace. But I will not claim to know it all.

I will also make a promise to not push you to buy my latest super pricey product. I'm seeing a lot of that out there lately and it's totally killed my interest in blogging all together. If I make something cool I will try to share it. I try to keep all pricing below a $1. But that is not the purpose of this blog. I think there is something really amazing about writing down lessons learned in our profession. That's what this blog is for. So here we go friends, let's learn together. 


Searching for an SLP Job in a New City

SLPs I need your help! I will be looking for a part-time SLP position in a city that is brand new to me. Huh? Yeah...My life is crazy right now. Like insane. Here's the update.

My husband felt stagnant and unfulfilled in his job for a lot of years. But he is finally being recognized for his amazing skills and has been offered an opportunity that we can't pass up. The trouble is that opportunity involves completely uprooting our family.

So I need to...get everything ready for the first of the school year with my speech kiddos, hire a new SLP to take over my dream job (SAD!), sell the house (quite the feat in itself), pack (yuck!), find a house in a city I've only ever seen once (yikes!), go through all the mortgage fiasco to buy a house, then proceed to move everything 700 miles away from all of our family and friends. Overwhelming right? Wait it gets better. My husband has to start the job next week (2 weeks after they offered it to him). The company is flying him there for the week and then back on the weekends until we sell our house. It will be hard to be separated. It'll also be an adventure to chase around our 2 year old son and keep the house in perfect showing condition to sell by myself. Feeling the stress build? Wait it gets even better. I am 7 months pregnant. Yeah.... If we can sell the house, find a house, pack, move, unpack, and find a doctor before this kid comes kickin' it will be a full-blown miracle.

So there you have it. My life is crazy. But I love it so much. I'm so sad to leave behind my ideal SLP job, but I am hopeful that there are excellent opportunities in the city we are moving to.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to find SLP positions in a brand new city? Are there any websites you've found helpful? Any sites to avoid?

I remember when I was fresh out of grad-school, the job search was a ridiculous maze of confusion. There were a lot of websites with what seemed to be "fake" jobs that were posted just to get you to sign up for their website. I'd really like to avoid that whole mess and just apply for legitimate openings.

What was your job-search like?


In Class Speech Work

One of the most fulfilling changes to my therapy format this year has been creating an in-class speech program for most of my students as a supplement to our direct therapy. While my unique school environment made it easier for me to begin this program, I think it could be introduced in a more traditional school environment.

What is an in-class speech program?
  • An opportunity for the student to practice their speech daily in school. Almost every school program has some flexible, independent working time for the students. My students practice  for 5 or 10 minutes during this time. Some of them work on their speech independently and some have gotten their friends involved. Some have even organized daily speech buddies.
What I LOVE about in-class speech works...
  • more opporuntities for the students to review the concepts gone over that week
  • practice in different contexts with different people
  • gets peers and teachers involved
  • work stays at the school (less chance of getting lost in transit)
Okay, Okay, I know what you are all saying...."When am I going to have time to make in-class speech tasks?" But it could be something as simple as reading a book out loud and finding their goal sounds. I like to encourage a lot of creativity and fun. Here are some examples of in-class speech programs we've done this year.
this is a cute R song that a student and her speech buddy wrote

a collection of speech works. I usually make them with the kids during our speech sessions and then send it with them in plastic baggies or envelopes.

this is an awesome rhyming R game

My students keep track of their in-class speech work with a chart like this

here is one that we've been working on for a while


My New School

In my new career ventures I have the opportunity of owning and operating my own business, but I still get the pleasure of working with students in their school environments. It's a perfect combination for me. Seriously, sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. Fortunately, because I was offered positions at a number of locations, I was able to hand pick the environment that I wanted to work in. The school that I work in has a completely different teaching philosophy and environment than the traditional schools that I have worked in.

What is my new school like and why did I choose it?
What really drew me in was this school's focus on the individual child. The philosophy lets students learn at their own pace. They teach in small groups instead of whole class lectures. They give their students a number of responsibilities that they must get done in a day, but allow them flexibility to choose when and in what order they are going to get them done, within the structure of the school day.

At our school the student's are required to get a number of "works" done in "work cycle". The "works" are set up in categories like "language" and "math" and "science". The student knows which level they most recently passed off and move on to the next work in progression. They are allowed flexibility and independence in how they approach getting work done. They keep track of their work with "work charts". If you walk into a classroom you expect to see kids spread all around the room working on different projects. There are desks but the students aren't required to sit at them, and they are free to move them around the room. Students often work on projects on the floor so they can spread out pieces of their "works" as needed. From what I have observed, the students can work independently or in groups. There are 2 teachers per classroom who monitor the works and give support to the children when needed. When teachers present lessons, it is in small groups of 6-10 children who are around the same level. There is always a constant hum of activity. The students are free to talk quietly but can't be too loud or crazy because it would disturb the other students who are working on their different projects. There's never a teacher standing at the front attempting to teach 30 kids at 30 different levels a one-size fits all lecture. It's a whole new fascinating world that I'm still trying to wrap my head around. It's dramatically different than any public school I've ever worked in but it is brilliant when executed correctly. The students have so much opportunity to become independent thinkers and problem solvers. It's that thinking outside of the box ideology that made me excited to work here.

Bringing Speech Therapy to the Classroom:
Another key reason I was excited to work at my school is the opportunity to easily work my therapy sessions into the classroom environment without disrupting the classroom dynamic. I have my schedule set up to do 2 sessions per week with my students. I do group sessions with 2 or 3 students on Tuesdays. And then I get to do individual sessions in the classroom with the students on Wednesdays. It's amazing! It gives me the ability to work with the students in multiple contexts.


Lower Prices on TPT store

Hi Friends,
I am lowering the prices at my TPT store. I have finally made back the money I had to pay to be part of the TPT store. So in celebration, I'll be lowering all my prices. Almost everything is $1.00 or less. Happy Thursday!

Here's the LINK!