Congrats! You got your masters in speech pathology! You have a job in the schools? Wondering what you might need?
Congrats! You worked hard for this degree, you worked hard to pass your Praxis exam, you even worked hard to get a dream job. You want to be prepared. I get it. I have been there. As a school-based SLP for the last 9 years, I know that feeling every summer as I try to better myself and be even more prepared than the year prior. But you don't have a year prior. So, how do you spend this summer before starting your dream job? In between browsing Pinterest (and my blog of course), and of course follow me on Instagram to make sure you see all my ideas shared over the summer, there are a few things I think you should have before starting. Keep reading to find out what they are!
There are A LOT of things to remember to do as a school-based SLP. IEP meetings, due dates, progress reports, lesson plans, faculty meetings, parent phone calls, team meetings, and the list goes on. How can we possibly remember it all?! Although I love the calendar app on my phone, while at work, I really depend on a planner. I personally LOVE my Erin Condron planner (you can read about it HERE) but there are also tons of SLP created ones on Teachers Pay Teachers. Do your research, know what style you like and what would make you the most prepared and organized for YOU! I personally like knowing I can buy a planner and it has everything I need and I don't need to prep anything. The key, remembering to write things down and remembering to check it every day!
I like to buy a really good binder each year. I use this binder to collect and gather my data, take attendance, and keep all records of parent communication in one spot. Click HERE to read my blog post all about my data collection book and the documents I keep in it. The more organized you are with data collection, the easier it will be to write progress notes, make recommendations, and even plan for future sessions. Yes, it takes time to develop a good data system for you that will work, but try different things out, be open to ideas and suggestions, just be organized about it! A good binder really does the trick!
A Good Black Pen:
No! I am not kidding! We sign our names A LOT! Why not have a really good pen! Why black? Many medicaid forms require black so why not just stick with that color for now. Yes, don't get me wrong, I love writing my lessons and stuff in fun flair pens. But for meetings and important documents…my good pen it is! Don't lose it!
Yes, most classrooms have clocks on the wall and yes our phones have a clock but I don't like to look at my phone while teaching. And sometimes we are moving around the room and our backs are to the clock. Especially if you will be doing push in therapy or traveling to different locations, having a good watch to rely on helps. Also, make sure your watch lines up with the school's clock so you are always on time with your kids and in sync with the teachers as well. You don't want them waiting for you. You also don't want people waiting for you for meetings as well.
Last but not least…shoes. Yes, this is the girl that wore way too high heels my first year because I felt like I looked 18 working with high schoolers and I needed to somehow make myself look older. My feet are still hurting from it. So, even if you LOVE heels or feel need to just “look professional” or even just need heels so your pants don't drag, always keep a spare pair of shoes in a bag, desk, or in your car. Let's not forget, shoes can break too, so this extra pair can be really helpful (from experience!). You will be on your feet, you will be running to photocopy machines and meetings, you will be traveling to different schools, whatever it may be…having a spare pair of shoes (and a comfy pair) will save your feet and allow you to work through those rough days. Many love their Tieks, I love my Toms, and in warm weather always keep a spare pair of flip flops.
I hope you find this list helpful, since it might cover other items not mentioned in any other list out there. It is what I feel is needed other than the usual (room decor, behavior mod system, screening/baseline systems, RTI information, and more). If you want to some free resources to get your started, don't forget to check out my freebies page by clicking HERE! Congrats grad…now let the #SLPfun begin!