What I learned, is that I spend an awful lot of time consumed by my profession. Someone recently posed the question on Facebook, "What is your biggest time sucker?" I responded "typing evaluations." I spend at a minimum 2 hours and at a maximum 5+ hours typing evaluations. I also spend hours in therapy planning, reading articles and blogs, preparing materials, and more. I am exhausted by being the consummate SLP. I pride myself on my professionalism and my ability to seek answers when I have none. I identify with what I do as who I am. I was not aware of this until this week and I understood better why 3 days before vacation I was in tears because I had spent 5 hours (not including the assessment itself) interpreting and typing an evaluation and I was utterly drained. I had administered 5 tests in order to truly mete out the nature of the problem. It was an excellent evaluation diagnostically, but it had a cost for this school-based SLP.
Herein lies the rub; I don't know how to do it any other way. It is in my nature to be thorough, to go the extra mile. I want to have materials ready that engage, motivate, and remediate effectively for my students. I have gotten into a pattern that is sucking the life out of me. I wondered; "Is this because of all the amazing ideas I see on social media?" "Is it all the wonderful materials that are available on TpT that are superior to my chintzy ones?" "Is it because I have tied my value as a professional to the time I invest?" No. It has been MY choice and that choice has become a habit and habits can be broken!
I imagine many of you have heard of the "One Little Word" project. Using this model one chooses a word for the year as opposed to a plethora of resolutions that are abandoned in one week's time. This word is savored, meditated on, carried in the heart. I typically don't make resolutions, I make goals and I am pleased to report I often reach them. The idea of selecting a word(s) that drive how I think and behave was intriguing. I have decided to select 2 words, a professional and personal word that I hope become my touchstones. Words I will journal and blog about, relate to my experiences and use as a vehicle for growth.
Without further ado, I offer my words: release and love.
Professionally I seek to release my compulsion for perfection. My therapy activity can be simple positive reinforcement, my evaluation based on 3 tests not 5. I do understand there will be times more deep testing will be necessary, but that can be the exception, not the rule. There will be times I want to do an involved therapy activity, but that can be the exception, not the rule. I will start my day with the word release etched in my mind's eye and explore what releasing myself to myself might look like.
Personally, there were so many words I could have adopted, but as I mulled over all the words I realized there is one very special word that is the foundation of all the others; love. Let love reign. Do all things in love. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. Out of curiosity I did a quick search for "love quotes" and came up with roughly 393,000,000! Phew! As I go about my day, I have been repeating the word love, before I respond with impatience or anger, or intolerance. When I look at the eyes of another I see the word love and behave with love. When I approach a problem I reach into my heart where love is seated and all my solutions, kindness, acceptance, peace, joy are released. Love must be at my center and love must be my foundation for it is only then that love can be at the forefront.
You can learn more about the One Little Word project here. Have you adopted a word or resolution? The Frenzied SLPs are excited to read about how you will meet 2016, so link up and share your aspirations.