I go back to work tomorrow. *Breathes deeply*
This week is the week before students go back to school. Maryland’s governor has pushed back the start date of school for students in order for the State to enjoy another week of summer break (read: Labor Day shmoney.) For a school-based SLP, this is the week before the craziness begins. There’s a chance to set-up speech rooms/offices/shared space/closets, acclimate oneself with the school schedule, culture, administrative staff, and teachers. There’s also the chance to look at the caseload, print IEP’s and get the organizational systems under way. I like the fresh slate of the beginning.
There’s the exciting part of the newness and then the prayers that your students won’t give you a run for your money. Or that the special education team is not a mess. In spite of all the unknowns, I’m thankful for a career where I’m needed and I’m glad to have a job!
This year, I’ll be getting a big lesson on time management as I work on my passion project part time. With a part time job starting my company and part time in the schools, I’m looking forward to where I’ll be 6 months from now. As for now, I’m enjoying the end of my last day of vacation.
What was the highlight of your summer?
It’s the 8th month of the year! Wow… That means we are that much closer to the fall, then Thanksgiving…then we’ll be bidding farewell to 2017. This has been an unusual summer for me. It’s been actual uninterrupted time off, but no travel (sad face- #adultingforreal.) Instead, we put all our extra money towards the move. We’ve been in our condo for one month now, and we are pretty settled in. I love our space, and especially that it’s not my apartment or his, but it’s OURS.
My summer has been pretty low-key, and I am taking the time to get some depth projects up and going. The down side to having all this time is discipline. I try to put some intentions out for the week, so that I can have a list to check off at the end of each day. I am also a big fan of sleeping in, but waking up late (after 11am) makes me feel like I’m wasting the day. Pretty soon, I’ll have to start setting my alarm to get back into the groove of early mornings.
Here’s what else has been rockin’ my world:
- Binge-a-thon: After over a year of not watching, I’ve returned to Breaking Bad (up to Season 4 now.) I’ve also indulged in other shows like: Transparent (Amazon), The Keepers (Netflix crime-mystery drama,) and ratchet TV (Love and Hip-Hop Hollywood is back on.) I also finished Married at First Sight (and the Second Chances show) but I’m done watching that show for good, don’t know why it keeps getting renewed.
- I am moving forward with the private practice on a part-time basis. Step by step and hoping to start seeing clients as early as September/October. #careergoals
- On apps like “Let Go” daily, trying to finish decorating our apartment with things people don’t want anymore.
- Cooking whenever I feel like and no apology when I don’t.
- Looking for another part time job. If I go back to the schools, it will be on a part time basis only. It’s so freeing to have no ties, and scary at the same time.
- Reading whenever I feel enthused. Finished one book so far this summer. Book review here.
- I’m really thankful for having this time I know there may not be another summer like this, and for that reason alone I’m allowing myself to just be. #withoutjudgment
- I still want to pierce my nose. Haven’t done it yet.
What’s Rockin’ Your August?
Last night, I stumbled upon a great article on Tactus Therapy about transitioning settings as a speech language pathologist (from schools to medical.) It’s very scary to think about making drastic changes, but I’m learning the older I get that without risk, there’s no reward. I think the most stifling feeling when it comes to work is the thought of being “stuck” or that you don’t have any options. Every speech language pathologist I’ve come in contact with, has chartered their own path. I love listening to “how I got here” stories. I’ve met veterans in school systems, private practice owners, doctoral students, clinicians who aspire to effect change on the state and local level by being active in State organizations, and I’ve read about SLP’s who have landed dream jobs abroad. Many hats, same passion.
I am also a Reddit lurker, because sometimes one can stumble upon the most provoking threads. In our field, sometimes it’s hard to find the answers you’re looking for by searching a simple Google question. I remember a big question that my graduating class had was realistic salary expectations coming out of school. I know there are many factors to consider (setting, hours, productivity, etc.), but I think having that information is empowering (especially in a female-dominated field where the N word is difficult.) Salary is not something you go up to a professor and discuss casually, and we (as a class) got the feeling that it was neither “proper” or “professional” to expect a direct answer or number. But it sure would have been helpful. In my experience in reading Reddit threads, people are more willing to share numbers to strangers across the interwebs. The transparency is just one aspect that we may lose in the spirit of “decorum.”
I’m writing this because I’m recognizing very early that the school setting is not a long-term reality for me. I’ve learned a lot in the 3 years (one year CF, and 2 “on my own”) from 2 different school districts. I have a lot of respect for everyone involved with keeping schools running, however, it is not for everyone. It is a tiresome, thankless job that no one does for money. But you’ve probably already heard that tune. I think the most exciting question to answer is… so what’s next?
The aforementioned article closes with the the thought that one should “travel toward what excites them, not away from what scares them.” In other words, it’s all about perspective. Recognizing what’s NOT for you is just as important as what is. The journey is the fun part, and the plan is what drives the goal. This year, I am embracing the plan and not becoming overwhelmed by big tasks. I’m striving to take a step every day towards not settling, committed to staying fulfilled, motivated and present.
How do you stay motivated when finding the right work setting?
This semester has been pretty heavy on me, to say the least. In spite of the fact that my favorite season is officially here (SPRINGGG!!), we’ve had a pretty tough winter (by D.C. standards) which has caused 11 snow days in these here public schools. Now, who wouldn’t love a snow day to cuddle, drink hot chocolate and culminate in a 4-day work week?
Not a girl trying to rack up her clinical hours. I work in an elementary school, my hours are dictated by face to face contact. NO school, no contact, no hours.
The fact that I’m still a little ways away from my 400 hour requirement has been weighing on me all semester. And considering we have about 5 weeks left of school, I’m sort of freaking out although everyone around me (i.e: classmates) is basically chilling because they’ve either reached their hours or don’t know what it feels like to be in my predicament. Well, I’m holding on to faith. I know I will make it, but sometimes it’s hard to see past the number I’m at now.
Besides that, my supervisor is a tough cookie. I mentioned in my last VLOG that she is an older woman, who hasn’t taken an intern in 10 years (red flag). I’ve come to the conclusion that she is one of those people who is never satisfied by other people’s work. Granted, there are areas I need to work on, that’s why I’m still in school! And I
know think she wants me to be a good clinician. She’s got that tough exterior, or some may call it tough love. I don’t know if I would call it tough love, because I’m still scratching my head wondering, where is the love?
Maybe I’ve been a little spoiled with positive verbal reinforcement for most of my graduate school clinical placements. Most of the time, I look to be treated the way we are taught to report information to our students’ parents: SAY SOMETHING NICE FIRST! I don’t care if it’s…that’s a nice shirt she’s wearing, you live in ______? That’s awesome! or he is such a well-behaved boy! You don’t flat out start talking about all the negative before saying something positive. Sometimes, I feel like I’m in a battlefield at my site, where every question is an exam and the help offered to me is limited. It has strengthened my belief that everyone is not meant to be a supervisor. I still do not regret the decision, because the bilingual case load I have is valuable and has taught me a lot so far.
But boy, am I tired of carrying the weight.