Reflecting on Change
I'm writing this blog while in the midst of my last week of school for the 2011-12 school year. Sometimes it feels like the year just started. Other times it seems the end couldn't have come soon enough! In reflecting back on this past school year and looking ahead toward next school year, if I had to sum up everything in one word, it would be CHANGE.
This year I've dealt with a lot of changes - change of building assignment, change of offices at both of my schools, change of home-based school, change of working hours. These changes have all turned out to be positive ones for me though a few of them took some getting used to. I look to next school year, and I see more changes ahead - possible change of building assignment, change of supervisor, change of coworkers (some moving to other buildings and assignments) ... Change is always a bit unnerving until it actually happens. Then we accept it and move on. It's funny, I am always saying I'm horrible with change - I like schedules. I like routines. I like sameness (hmm ... sounds a bit familiar ... like some of my students, perhaps?). However, when I stop to think about it, we as school-based SLPs deal with a lot of change in our jobs - not just at the start and end of the year but throughout.
To be a school-based SLP, one must be good with and be able to handle changes that come up, handle them quickly, and then keep on going without letting the changes slow us down. I started coming up with a list of all of the changes the average school-based SLP deals with throughout the typical school year:
- New enrollments- Students who are initially referred, then subsequently added to your caseload
- Move-ins/Move-outs- Does anyone else hate out-of-state IEPs as much as I do? Sometimes just finding goals and the amount of services is hard to do with unfamiliar paperwork formats!
- Dismissals- Sometimes we've had these kids for years, and it is hard to let go, but when it's time, it's time.
- Change of Placements- This goes both ways. Students moving in to a new placement/classroom within your building, and students moving out of your building to go to a different classroom placement.
- Weekly Schedule (well in my district, six-day cycle schedule)- Classroom teachers always seem surprised that my schedule changes constantly - most of them have a "set" schedule that doesn't change from the second week of school until the end of the year.I find my schedule changes on a regular basis - I get new students, groups don't always work well together, students have a special this marking period during their speech time ... You name it! I keep a paper copy of my schedule on my clipboard and mark changes in red pen. At the end of the month, every month, I print out an updated, clean version of my schedule with ... you guessed it ... all the changes made!
- Daily Schedule- We have all been there. "Oh Suzy has her birthday treat during Billy's speech time today. Can he come at another time?" or, "We had to change our art time due to the field trip tomorrow. Sally can't come for speech at 1:30 today."I even am guilty of changing my own daily schedule - for example, if I see students of mine are absent, I will regroup or move students to other time slots as appropriate. We school-based SLPs need to be the most flexible teachers in the school when it comes to dealing with changes to daily schedules! Is there ever a day (especially this time of year when assemblies, field trips, picnics, special events are a constant) in which we actually follow our schedules as written?
I do have one change coming up in a few short days I'm thrilled about! Temporary, 2-month job change - from school-based SLP to stay-at-home mommy!
School-based SLPs - Can you add to my list above? What changes do you think we SLPs deal with throughout the year? Have any of you experienced any major (or minor) changes at school this year? What changes do you have coming up for next school year? How do you deal with change at school? Feel free to comment on the blog page or Advance's Facebook page!