Taking Care of Our Students = Taking Care of Ourselves
No one should ever question if a school-based SLP cares for the students on his/her caseload. No one should ever question if the students on a school-based SLP's caseload are important to him/her. Without a doubt, I'm sure we can all say a resounding YES to both of these statements. So, we school-based SLPs are caring people and bend over backwards for our students...however, where do we fit in? Do we ever take the time to care for OURSELVES?
Take time? Think of ourselves? Really? There is such a thing? I'm sure if any of you out there are anything like me taking time to take care of ourselves is at the absolute bottom of our priority list. ave you ever done any of these behaviors (or ones similar to it)?
I'll be honest and give my personal answers. Guilty, guilty, guilty, AND guilty! I've worked in the schools for nearly 13 years. The older and more experienced I get, the better I've been about calling in sick when I need to; however I still spend most of my sick days at home catching up on paperwork (instead of resting!).
In reading this list of behaviors, it is truly ridiculous that we behave this way. f we care so much about our students, why in the world would we come to school sick and risk getting them sick? If we care about our students, why would we spend our sick days doing school work instead of what it is intended for - recovering/getting better (and thus possibly need to take more sick days)? If we our having health issues, why would we delay going to the doctor (and thus possibly causing further problems down the line and the potential of more missed work)? Why? I know one main reason is because we are all overwhelmed and busy at work and simply have too much to do to miss even one day. However, because we care so much about our students, they deserve us at our best. We can't provide quality services if we are sick or injured.
It's not just school-based SLPs who are guilty of these behaviors. I've known many other school professionals who are equally guilty of similar behaviors. If you're like me and are guilty as charged, just take a moment to pause before you decide to go into work when you're really not feeling well. Take a nap on a sick day instead of writing IEPs. Call the doctor to schedule that appointment, even if you have to schedule it for during the school day. The work will all still be there for you upon your return. I know it is hard to do, but we all need to start caring for ourselves first and foremost in order to serve our students better.