SLP….scheduling….although we may hate it, it is apart of our job especially if you are an SLP in the schools. Now, you are probably wondering why I named this post “SLP Scheduling Fun”…fun?? Scheduling fun?? OK it may not be fun! But I always follow the same routine each year to help make it less painful!
Do you often find yourself staring at the computer screen and with piles of paper like the image above? No need!!
Item to have in order to prepare for scheduling:
- Caseload list
- Class lists, note which class each student on your caseload is in
- Master schedules: when does each class have lunch, specials, when can you pull, etc.
- You list of bus/lunch duties and times you are needed for assignments
- PENCILS and ERASERS
Do you have an extremely large caseload like me (50+)? Do you have crazy limitations on when you can pull your students? I asked on my Facebook page last week and many of you have limitations, either you can only pull from specials or are limited to science/social studies times. I would LOVE to have a social skills group and articulation group and groups based on goals/need. Unfortunately, due to crazy limitations, I have to pull by availability. I won't pull a life skills kiddo with a resource room kid, but I do pull similar ages/levels together no matter what they goal. I am TOTALLY jealous to those that have that flexibility. But, most likely, if you are reading this blog post, you are like me and have all these limitations with can stress you out.
Before I even BEGIN to schedule:
- I create an Excel spreadsheet of my caseload.
- I sort my students by classes.
- Then I take my master schedule and highlight my students' classes on that list. Since I can only pull during specials, I take my highlighter and I highlight only those slots that I can use. Why bother highlighting the gym slot when I cannot take from that time?
Now that I have the times that I can pull each student, I have my template of times of my schedule that I create based on my school's master schedule. I try to give myself to pick up and bring back students (a minute or so), I like to try and take kids at the beginning of their periods this way I'm not interrupting a teacher to take a kid after he/she has begun teaching. However, this isn't ALWAYS possible.
Once I have my template, I make an enlarge copy, either I photocopy it enlarged, or I have recreated it on my dry erase board. Now I grab my Post-its, pencils, and erasers.
I take my giant schedule, and write in each slot which classrooms are available at that time. Next to the classroom number I indicate the amount of students that I have in that classroom. For example, if I have 3 students in room 501 and 2 students in 401 that is available on Mondays at 9:05, I will write in that slot 501 (3), 401 (2). Now I can see how many students is available per slot.
Now it is time to play Sudoku! I try and create groups on my Post-Its. If I have Joe, Jill, Jamie, Jessica, and Jeremy twice a week, I will make that group have 2 different Post-its. I take the Post-Its and place them in the slots that I indicated in which that class is available.
Yes, I will have to move those Post-Its around and even mix and match those groups TONS of times. The crazy part, once I find times that work, then I have to run to the teachers to see if the OT, PT, social workers, or any other provider has claimed that time first. Most of the time, since I have the largest caseload, I was the last to claim that time. Then, I go to that provider and try to beg and plead and try and get them to change the time of that kid for me! HA! Does it work, most of the time NO! But hey, if I can get them to change 1 out of 5 conflicts, not too bad?! I sometimes feel like I am playing Big Brother trying to make alliances and deals to keep myself in the game!
Sorry I don't have actual pictures to show you (YET!)! I am still on summer vacation but I know MANY of you are back and dealing with scheduling issues. I have seen TONS of posts on various Facebook groups asking about scheduling tips. Therefore, I wanted to share with you some things that I have found helpful in making that time of the year less stressful and overwhelming. Follow me on Instagram as soon as I am back at work and working on my schedule I will post some photos to share!
Good luck, bribery goes a long way with other providers, get a cute SLP pencil to write/erase with, and try to have some fun. Play some music, take coffee/chat breaks, and remember that this happens every year and it always manages to work out!