The Paperwork Issue Continues
Last week I discussed the issue of paperwork
at my new Early Intervention Preschool position. Several of you wrote in with various comments, some of which reflected my own thoughts and reasoning for decisions made both in the past and now.
When I first graduated over a decade ago, I went right to the schools. It was where I felt most comfortable and had truly enjoyed my internships as a student. After working in several districts, struggling with caseloads of 75+ children and hours and hours of paperwork, I made the decision four years ago to try EI homecare.
I loved homecare and remained in the job for 3 and 1/2 years, but the position was full-time and ran 52 weeks a year. With recently having a baby, I made the decision in January 2010 to take a position with a shorter workday and 14 weeks off a year (what they call a "stretch" preschool schedule) to spend as much time as possible home with my baby.
Now that I'm a mom, the demands at home are as constant as when I am at school. Budgeting time is easier said than done when you are busy all day long at work and have the demands of home and family waiting for you at the end of your work day. I am constantly multitasking and yet there is always another "to do" list item waiting to be checked.
The reason for writing last week's post was not to complain about my job, but instead to shed some light on a problem that exists both in the school systems (as many of you mentioned) and also at the EI preschool level, where I am currently working. Before having a baby, I would bring paperwork home—no problem! I didn't love it, but I was willing to do it. I would plop myself on the couch at night and tackle billing, reports and IEPs for hours.
As one therapist commented, "Spending more and more time doing paperwork and meetings and less time providing direct service to kids is exactly why I left public schools for EI. I was tired of having to constantly prove that I was doing my job..." She went on to share that since working in EI, "I've rediscovered the joy I use to feel doing speech therapy and I will never return to schools".
I share this perspective not as a complaint, but to raise an issue that exists within our field. Are we losing good therapists in the schools because of the paperwork demands and high case loads? And if so, as therapists, is there anything we can and should do about it?
Join me next week as we talk about some possible solutions....!