Congrats new speech grad! You are ready to start your CFY! Have no fear…Speech Time Fun is here with time and money saving tips for you!
Several years have passed since I graduated from grad school with my masters in speech-language pathology. After working in the field (in public and private school settings), there are several things I wish I knew back then!
When I was in grad school, there was no Pinterest. I don't think TpT existed, and it if did, it wasn't popular and there was definitely NOT any speech materials on it. The website, SpeakingofSpeech was like the ONLY speech materials site available! How did I survive?! (I can hear the current graduate students saying that to themselves). Below are some things I did to survive and things I wish I did more of:
- Don't be afraid to also look up ideas for general education, special education, and reading teachers. They have been sharing ideas for years! Although it is a different field, some aspects overlap! How do they teach vocabulary, inferencing, listening comprehension, graphic organizers, etc.? Some blogs I recommend are Hello Literacy and The Autism Helper.
- COLLABORATE! We had to work together as a department. We shared ideas, materials, and suggestions. I wish I used this reference more! I wish I wrote down everyone's amazing ideas! I wish we came up with a message board (and now-a-days Facebook group) so we can easily share and ask for help. Lucky for you…I have a FB group that is a relaxing place and filled with fun. Feel free to share fun ideas or ask for them in there. CLICK HERE to join it!
- Who else can you collaborate with? Other educators in your placements! It doesn't have to only be the SLPs! Meet the school psychologist, reading specialist, resource room teachers, occupational therapists and others. They can provide you with help. They can share ways to work on behavior management, handwriting, sensory, and incorporating curriculum. How do you collaborate without seeming too pushy?! Include yourself into conversations, either in a faculty room or photocopy room. Go to faculty meetings and staff development workshops the school is holding (even if it isn't required). Sitting in on a CSE/IEP (whatever you call it in your districts) meetings?! Unsure of what was being discussed? Don't want to ask in the large group? Ask your supervisor later or ask that person specifically later.
- Laminate! Want your great ideas to last over time? This is the best way possible! There are so many cheap and well made laminators available on Amazon now! Grab one it will last you years! I purchase my laminating sheets at BJs but Amazon also has deals on them too.
- Save your money! Even if you save little and often, like putting $2 bills away in a box multiple times a week, it could mean that you save a substantial amount of money a month without realizing, (learn more from debtconsolidationusa.com). This will give you the opportunity to spend it any way you see fit, once you have the relevant funds to do so. I spent WAY too much money on buying commercially available materials. Yes, I love having them today, but I did not know at the time what population I would be working with in the future. You don't even want to know how much I spent! If I were to go back, I would spend only on more generic products that can be used with multiple age groups and levels. Like what? Board games! Things that can be used as a motivator/reinforcer. What are my favorite board games? CLICK HERE to read about them. Don't feel the need to buy it all right away…you can survive with 1 or 2 games for quite a while! If you make them sound interesting..your students won't get bored of them! I've always been a massive board games fan. I'm looking forward to meeting my friends to play the new Lord of Vegas game. You can learn more about this game online. As many of you know, I've been partial to a bit of online poker in recent years at my favorite “Judi Bola” (known as a Gambling Ball in English). Fingers crossed my poker experience will give me in a helping hand in this game!
- Dollar store, discount stores and Target Dollar Spot can be your best friends! I wish I knew this!! I go now all the time! Why didn't I know back then to buy index cards, Popsicle sticks, dice, puzzles, construction paper, notebooks and so much more! Again though…don't over spend! You will have too many items and no where to put it all! Try to have some restraint!
- It is OK to ask for help! No one expects you to know everything during grad school or shortly after. Years in the field, I am still learning and growing! Unsure of how to target a goal, how to analyze evaluations, or how to handle negative behaviors, feel free to ask. Ask professors, fellow graduate students, or supervisors.
- Seek out observation experiences. Ask to observe reading teachers, OTs, PTs, or other professionals. Observe in a general education classroom to see what children/students are expected to know and do at that age level. Unsure of which setting you want to work in? Call around and see if they will let you observe or help out for a day. You will be surprised who will be happy to help you and take you in. Ask around, you may have a cousin's best friend's babysitter who is an SLP who will let you observe them for a day. I have let coworkers' daughters observe me several times when they wanted to learn more about the field.
- Have fun! It is the time of your life to live, learn, and grow. It may seem like the most stressful time of your life but it will come and go and you won't remember why you were stressing! I promise!
Since I am all about low prep and saving time/money…grab a freebie below to help you get started! I love using 100 trial games to get students working towards their goals in a fun and interactive way. Just print, grab a dice, something to color, any articulation or stimulus cards, and you are ready! Therapy planned!