Considering having a graduate speech intern? Already have one signed up? Here are some benefits!
Over the years I have had three amazing graduate interns. They were so professional and responsible, and I really loved having the experience of working with them. I hope to take more in the future. Why did I love the experience so much? What did I get out of it? Below are my top 5 benefits of having a graduate intern!
1. You will learn too!
While you are helping someone else learn, you will learn too. You probably forgot WHY you do some of the things you do or even HOW you do it! By having to explain it to someone, it will be a great refresher for you!
In addition, you will also learn from them! They are getting the current research in school, they are getting up to date information on trends. I have learned so much from my previous interns. They knew about websites for resources that I have never heard of, they also were getting courses that I was never offered in graduate school. As the field changes and grows, it is nice to have a connection to the graduate school world and get to hear what is being taught now.
2. It will force you to be organized!
If you struggle with organization like me, having an intern can help you. NO! Not so they can organize for you! But you need to be organized even more because there is another person using your space! We work in tight quarters and being organized is key in these situations. It will also be helpful with all of the paperwork required when you take on graduate interns. You need to keep track of their hours, their performance, and what tasks they are assigned to.
3. You may get another perspective on those tricky cases!
Ever get stuck with a student. Don't know what other strategies to try? Maybe it is an articulation case? Or a fluency case? Or maybe just a student with lots of negative behaviors. You have tried everything. You may have had this student on your caseload for years at this point. It can really help having another set of eyes, and a fresh set too! See what your student can come up with for them? Maybe they would try something differently than you would. Worth a try right?!
4. Divide and conquer!
If you advise your graduate students well, they will start to do paperwork and various administrative tasks just like you and your style. Have them help with some evaluation reports. Have them help with some medicaid billing. It is great practice for them and it will help you out tremendously! It may take a lot of time in the beginning to train them well but when you do, it will be worth it! Yes, they may take longer to write a report than you would and you may be thinking “I'd rather just do it myself.” But, the more practice they get, the faster and more efficient they will get at it. I promise!
5. It is fun!
Yes. That is a good reason! It is so nice to have another adult in the room to communicate with! All day long, we are surrounded by students in our tiny therapy rooms. It is nice to have another adult to chat with, laugh with, and experience the day with. Haven't you had moments when you were like, “How did no one else hear that?” Well…with a graduate intern, someone else can!
So if you are deciding whether or not to take an intern in the future, I hope this list has helped convince you that it is worth it. It is worth the extra work and time. You will learn, become a better SLP, and give back to the field. You get to reflect on your graduate school experience and share the positives and improve on your negatives. Did you like your externship supervisors? Why? You can be that kind of person too! If you did not like one, why not? What would you have changed? You can demonstrate that change by doing things differently yourself for a graduate student. I remember being a little sponge in graduate school, just wanting to learn anything I can. I like to pass on that passion and love of learning to my graduate interns. If any of you are reading this, feel free to email me and give me updates on your journeys since you left me!
If you are taking an intern, feel free to check out this freebie! This free observation form will be great when your graduate students are observing you teach in the beginning. It will help them learn what to look for and what they should include when they start doing therapy themselves.