Are you dreading traveling from building to building or house to house each day? Do not fear traveling any more! Here are my best tips to survive!
It is back to school season. Many SLPs find themselves split between two or even three or four buildings. Some SLPs travel from house to house if you work with early intervention. It is a very common thing. Yet, many struggle to stay organized, calm, prepared, and confident. Keep reading to see how I have survived in the past and what I would do if faced with the challenge again.
Do you make your own schedule? If so:
- Try to schedule in enough time to get from place to place.
- Allow time for prep, communicating with teachers/parents, going to the bathroom, and lunch!
- Email a copy of your schedule to yourself and keep in in your phone. This way if you place it, you always have it!
- Color code your schedule to reflect the different buildings. This way at a quick glance you can see where you need to be.
- Don't promise anyone which days you will be in a specific building until AFTER you work out a schedule. This way you aren't tied down to one specific building. This will make scheduling easier.
- Make sure you time how long it takes to get to and from each location. Go various ways in case there are road closings or accidents to avoid!
- Keep phone numbers of all buildings/homes and e-mail addresses of teachers/parents in a phone, in a binder with your schedule/data. This way you can easily contact if you have car trouble, get sick, last minute meeting, etc.
- Have a planner? Use the schedule app on your phone? USE IT!! Plug in every meeting, due date for paperwork, field trips the students may have, or any change in your normal daily routine!
- Make sure everyone has YOUR cell phone number and email address. This way they can contact you if meetings get canceled or if you have an individual session and the student is absent you don't have to rush!
- Keep a “go to” binder. Keep your schedule, student goals, a quick glance at student information, and places to write to do lists. This way you can easily plan, call parents, or jot down ideas no matter where you are!
- Use colored pens that correlate to the same color you made on your color coded schedule to keep things organized! All students in building A will have notes written in the color red since that is the color you used on your schedule.
- Plastic crate: this is for your trunk of your car! You can have 1 for each building you are in. LABEL or color code it! This way you can store things in your car in an organized way so you can easily find it. Plus, this will prevent your materials from moving around your trunk and making noise. Don't you hate hearing a toy go off when stopping short at a red light?! This will also allow you to have room in your trunk so you can go grocery or clothes shopping!
- Crate on wheels: stop hurting your back!! You can just transfer the items in the crate in your car into this crate on wheels and wheel them into the building. If you don't have to carry a heavy bag, you will probably carry more and be better prepared! You can also find one at Lakeshore Learning.
- A large durable binder: this will help you keep important papers organized. Keep your schedule on the front so you can easily see!
- Organizing caddy or tote bag: this will keep pens, post-its, crayons, glue and whatever key items that you use everywhere in an organized manner. If everything has a home, you can find it! Many recommend also bags from the company Thirty-one.
- A good planner: there are so many out there it all depends on your preferences, style, and how much you want to spend. Many recommend the Erin Condren life planners, others prefer creating their own such as the ones from Crazy Speech World. It is important to write down lesson plans and what materials you will need. Also write down ALL meeting dates and when paperwork is due! Color code!!
- Smart phone: I prefer an iPhone but use your preference! It is a necessity to keep calendars, phone numbers, email, to do lists, calculators, and more in one spot!
- iPad: There are SO many great apps out there that you can use as part of your therapy. It is lightweight and easy to carry from place to place!
- LIBRARY CARD: don't have a place to store all of these amazing story books? Just hop on over to the library and take out a bunch at a time! Return when you are done! No clutter, less to store!
- Store the necessities: art supplies, pens/pencils, dry erase board or anchor chart paper.
- Only need certain games or materials in one building? keep it there! know your goals!
- Find a friend/coworker you can grab other necessities from if you forget or run out! I have a coworker I grab curriculum materials from when in a pinch. It helps!
- Is there a place to store testing materials???? Do you have to sign them out ahead of time?? Plan ahead!
I hope this blog post has helped calm some tension and anxiety about the upcoming school year! Any tips I missed?! Comment below!!Disclaimer: this post contains Amazon Affiliate links!