Congrats! You graduated from grad school and are officially a CF! Are you wondering what you need to know before the new school year begins? Here are tips for the brand new SLP!
Starting out can be scary, overwhelming, and exciting. We have all been there. Eager to finally do therapy on our own but terrified to not have someone right beside you to jump in if needed. Yes, CFs has supervisors but they aren’t there all the time. They might not even be in the same building/site as you! Every supervisor is different and you cannot assume you will be getting help in a moment’s notice. But don’t worry…you can handle this. You will be awesome. Here are some tips that can help you as you prepare for this new journey we call SLP-CF!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: if you don’t ask, no one will know you have an issue or questions. No one will be watching you all day and realize you are having an issue. No question is too silly…ask it!
- Don’t forget to breathe. You will be fine. You may feel overwhelmed at first but it will get better and easier…I promise!
- Trust yourself. You graduated which means you studied all of this information in school. You are an expert in speech and language whether you feel that way or not. You do know more than you realize. You are making a difference!
- Have good discipline techniques and routines in your therapy room. Decide what the rules will be, start the year off ready to implement them and stick with it! CLICK HERE to read my blog post all about building routines in a speech room.
- Be flexible. Schedules will change. Last minute meetings and evaluations will be scheduled and required. Expect them. They will happen. Just smile and nod.
- Be kind and set limits. Be approachable yet let teacher’s know the appropriate way to reach you if they have concerns about a student. You don’t want to be constantly stopped in the hallway to “come listen to a student.” Just be open and honest. You can say something like “I’d love to help you with ____ please email me so I won’t forget and we can schedule a time to discuss.”
- Put in the time to be organized. The more organized you are, the less scattered you will feel and you won’t forget important details/dates. Use a calendar, create lists (sticky notes are your friend), and schedule everything. Set alarms if you have to. You can use Google Calendar so that it syncs with your phone so you always have all appointments and items all the time to reference. Know from the beginning important deadlines and map out how long you might need to evaluation or accomplish any task. Assign yourself time/dates to complete tasks. Color code if you have to. CLICK HERE to read about my data binder and HERE to read about my scheduling tips.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. You will always be learning and growing in your career. You will always question thing. It is normal. We all do it!
- Take advantage of other professionals/experts in the school. Learn from the OT, PT, reading specialist, school psychologist, ESL providers, and teachers. Everyone has a different knowledge base that we can learn and grow from. You never know what nuggets of information they can teach you that will help you tremendously. These professionals would also love to learn from you too!
- Make friends with the secretaries, custodians, and cafeteria people! It will come in handy!
I hope these tips and tricks will help you feel less overwhelmed and more prepared as you get ready to embark on your new journey. Notice that I didn’t give any tips of therapy materials or ideas. That time will come. You need to get yourself situated, organized, and scheduled first. Once you do and you know your caseload, come back and we can discuss low prep and free therapy ideas!
Do you follow me on Instagram?! I am always sharing therapy ideas and tips there. Let me handle the lesson planning so you can focus on the other aspects of the job! CLICK HERE to follow me on Instagram!