As back to school season approaches (and arrives), I cannot help but hear some common comments from teacher friends. So….I figured I would share them!
In NO particular order…
1. “You don't see kids the first few days of school? You are SO lucky!” Yes. I am lucky, I am lucky to have to schedule 60+ students, make all of the teachers I work with happy, please my administrators and not take kids during certain times, make sure I meet all IEP mandates, and attend ridiculous meetings. I barely sit down, let alone breathe the first few days of school. Trust me, I'd rather see kids.
2. “What supplies do you need? Don't you just need games?” Yes, I have lots of games. But I do need other things too!! I need dry erase markers, Post Its, pencils, stickers, index cards, laminating paper at home, Velcro, binder rings, folders, notebooks, and crayons just to name a few.
3. “You don't have to do report cards, you are so lucky!” No, instead I have to do IEP progress notes on 60+ kids, write progress reports and evaluation reports on all of them as well. Trust me, I'd rather just do report cards 4x a year on 30 kids.
4. “You only have 5 students, you are so lucky!” Yes, I only have up to 5 students at a time, but they each have their own individual goals and needs and I need to find a way to target each one for each student. I also have students with ADHD, Autism, and other disabilities which can impact their ability to attend, sit still, communicate with others, or even transition to and from the therapy room.
5. “You only see kids for 30 minutes and then send them back, you are so lucky!” Yes, I only have them for 30 minutes, but in that time I am responsible for making progress on their IEP goals and teach them how to carry it over so when they are with you in the classroom you see the progress as well. Not easy, especially when you forget to send them to me on time.
6. “You don't have to follow a curriculum, you are so lucky!” No, I don't have a curriculum or a script to read from each day. I have to come up with my own activities and materials to target the specific needs of each student. This can be different each year too! Even though this is not my first year working in this school, with this population, with this age group, I still need to create new lessons and activities. I have no curriculum map telling me which direction to go and what materials I should be using. I have to make that judgement call on my own.
7. “Why do you sign your name with CCC-SLP next to it?” I worked hard for those credentials. Do you expect your doctor to not sign his/her name with Dr. so and so? I also have to show my credentials for medicaid billing and to prove to the state that a licensed professional is meeting the needs of that student's as per their IEP. So let me brag for a bit, I worked hard for it.
8. “You didn't pick up your student today. Where were you?” Yes, I was having a coffee break. No, I was stuck in CSE meeting, probably dealing with a difficult parent, or fighting for services that a student deserves. I did not plan to take that long, I would have gotten your student if I could, trust me.
9. “You work on THAT?” Yes, I work on listening comprehension and language. That means yes, I do work on vocabulary, comprehension of passages, how to answer questions, and following directions. I don't work on “reading” but I work on the same skills and strategies. I don't work on “writing” but I do teach how to develop complete sentences, grammatical structures, and even how to narrate stories.
and last, but certainly not least…
10. “That kid can talk, why does he go to speech?” or “I can hear all his sounds, why is he going to speech?” Yes, you may call me the “speech teacher” (which BUGS me by the way!) but I am a speech-LANGUAGE pathologist. That means yes, I do work with articulation disorders but I also work on language, you know vocabulary, sentences, auditory comprehension, social skills, and more. So just because a kid in your class is going to “speech” that doesn't mean that is the only thing I work on. I do more than teach the /r/ sound all day! Trust me, see the IEP goals I work with, I work on more, much more all day long!
I hope I have answered all of your questions, dear teacher colleague, now, let's work together to have a great school year!