Tuesday, June 16, 2015

This is My Relaxed Look

 It's my last week of school! Typically, I am in the throes of progress reports, last minute IEPs and evaluations, end of year reflections, cleaning, sorting, and other assorted mayhem. For some peculiar reason the end of this school year is different. In fact this entire school year has been different! This morning my friends and coworkers and I were chatting and one suggested we take a picture of this calm, cool and collected SLP because of its novelty. Another colleague suggested a blog post and I happily obliged! I, too, have been struck by my year and thought it might be a good idea to reflect on what was different this year. It's probably a good idea to try and replicate it next year! 

From an organizational perspective I have done some things differently and they most assuredly were effective.
  1. I often get overwhelmed and forget where I am supposed to be. Yes, I am the person you see walking down the hall and then doing a 180 and going the other way. My new support system was my paper calendar (in my binder) and Google calendar. When I received a meeting notification I first wrote it on my monthly calendar then I entered it into google calendar. I put a check on the notification indicating I had posted it. At the end of each week I looked at my monthly calendar and entered any upcoming meetings for the week on my weekly to-do page in my binder. Google calendar helped by sending me 30-minute and 10-minute reminders. I did not miss or arrive late for ONE meeting this year! ALLELUIA!
  2. Last summer I created organizers (that have kept me on task and on time). In fact, I was often
    early with my paperwork. Let me just say, that in the past, it was down to the wire. I used these along with pages from Lauren LaCour's Speech Therapy Organizing Planner, had them all bound, and was good to go. I don't know why I didn't do this 30 years ago. Oh yes, I do...no computers! I was able to keep track of goals, lesson plans, IEPs, evaluations, screenings, copying, field trips, purchases, professional development, and so much more in two books. I did separate my planning from my paperwork in two books. I think one book would have been too massive! 
  3. All my therapy plans for the upcoming week were completed the week before. Materials were prepped and ready to go the week before. There were no early morning scrambles! This had been my practice forever, but somehow after having my own children, it fell to the wayside. I have reclaimed my sanity by being ready to go the week before.
  4. When I received notification for an IEP or evaluation I went to work immediately. Progress monitoring was completed and goals written 2-3 weeks ahead of the meeting date. Testing was begun as soon as possible and was done in the order of meeting date. There were times I would start the process of goal writing only to realize I had already completed them! It's true!!
Now for the mental component. I spent a good part of my life an anxious, sensitive wreck. How did I stay sane this year? Like this:
  1. Exercise; the activity I hate to love or love to hate depending on my mood. Research supports that consistent exercise is as beneficial as medication for many people. It is! Twice a week several teachers and I exercise together after school for an hour. A wonderful fitness instructor comes to our building and for a little while we enter the "vault" where we sweat and vent! On the other days I either run or go to Jazzercise. Perfect therapy!
  2. Apparently I do quite a bit of self-talk. Frequently this year I would talk to my SLPA and she wouldn't respond. One day, I called over to her and asked, "Are you there?" She replied, "Are you talking to me? I never know, you have conversations with yourself all the time!" I hadn't realized it, but it's true, I process aloud. I question, I whine, I problem solve, I debate and it keeps me centered and focused. I know, it's weird.
  3. I have had an amazing sounding board for about a year and a half. This person helps me take a good hard look at myself and process my thoughts. She has helped me recognize that the behavior of others has absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with them. One of my mantras this year has been, "Don't personalize!" I have learned to yield, to say, "You're probably right," or "Thanks for the feedback," and then let go. AHHHHHHH!
  4. At the beginning of this school year I brainstormed goals for the year. One of these included leaving at a reasonable hour. I am happy to say, I stuck to my plan. I arrived at school between 7:15 and 7:30 and stayed no later than 4:00. 
  5. Prayer. Communication with the God of the Universe.
It has been a wonderful year, but I can't conclude without giving a nod to my fellow SLPs. I have had the good fortune of becoming acquainted with some remarkable men and women via social media. There are so many and I fear I would slight someone if I listed names, because I am certain I would forget some fabulous person. I think you know who you are! This group has served as a palliative to my daily grind. The support, information, faith sharing, materials, and laughs (think "permalink" and "logo") gained through this incredible group of professionals has been amazing and a source of great satisfaction and joy. Thank you all for helping me. I'm not sure you realize I how much I value the online SLP community.


  1. Replies
    1. We're almost done!! I think a hike is in order.

  2. I was laughing all through the first part of this post because I saw myself! Definitely helps to relieve stress when you're organized! I thought the end of the year was going to be stress-free for me, but then something happened with a parent (not with Speech, thank goodness) & I had to get a child in speech within a week so she could get ESY! I was out the door as fast as I could go!

    1. Mary, you won't believe what happened after I published this post! Check your email!!!!!!

  3. OOOOOH you've inspired me once again, Annie Doyle!! I WILL take away from this and USE these next school year! My mantra just might be "what would Annie do?" I thought it was just me who did 180s in the hallways!! I also talk to myself non-stop. Thank you for making me feel less crazy. :) I love how you're finishing strong!

    1. HAHAHAH, Mia I don't know if you want to use that mantra! I knew we were kindred spirits!