Time to get personal…

One of my (Elissa) favorite quotes by Agnes de Mille could not be more fitting in my life right now…

“No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently.”

Let's get personal

I recently completed my 16th year as a SLP – all in the same school system; first hired by my now friend and co-blogger, Lydia. After 5 years working in elementary schools and working on some special projects with Lydia through the Georgia DOE, she approached me to apply for the position of Lead SLP for the school district. This was not a role I ever saw myself in – not something I ever really strived for.

I was content in my school, happy to serve my students, be a member of the school’s leadership team, mentor new SLPs and supervise interns…that was enough for me. Or so I thought…

It took a lot of convincing by multiple people but I went for this lead job and got it. One year later, Lydia moved on from her role as coordinator (and my boss) but I was getting the hang of things, enjoying the challenges. Someone I barely knew took over Lydia’s role and 10 years later we made a dynamic duo! I still worked with Lydia, we wrote a book, started a blog and TpT store. I got married and had a daughter, moved to the ‘burbs and continued as the lead SLP for this constantly growing and changing large metro school district. My boss of the last 10 years has been AMAZING and our partnership and working relationship helped make the Communication Disorders department very well respected in the district and metro area. I loved my job, loved supporting over 175 SLPs, developing programs and professional development, supervising SLP-Assistants, and helping staff through some difficult assessments and meetings. I even stopped missing the day-to-day therapy – I still kept my skills very sharp with all of the troubleshooting and model lessons; and I still wrote and conducted plenty of IEPs and evaluations. So why would I ever consider leaving?

Did I mention the traveling…and the traffic? Some days I was in the car for 3 hours or more driving back and forth from my house (in a different county) to various parts of this district. The closest school to my house took 30 minutes (without traffic) and the drive to my office (in the middle of the county) took at least an hour most of the time. And like every working mother, I struggled with the work-life balance. “Daddy has to take you to the bus stop today sweetie, I have a meeting… We’ll try to do a gymnastics class next year honey…or We can’t do soccer and dance right now”.

The pro/con lists started a couple years ago, the idea of being on the same schedule as my daughter, so close to home I couldn’t even imagine…the seed was planted in my head and just kept blooming. My boss and I knew it would happen someday…but it was so hard to admit that the day had finally come.

And then everything started falling into place…interviews at multiple schools, an offer I could have totally lived with and then the call I never expected. An interview at my daughter’s school – for a full-time SLP position. A great interview and an offer on the spot. Is it even possible to say no? Well, no it is not…

So this year I said goodbye to a team that will never be replaced, to a job I never imagined taking and then never wanted to leave, and to a boss, mentor and friend that helped make me the SLP and leader I am today. It is bittersweet to say the least!

Why do I share all this? Sometimes a personal story can empower us all to be our best selves. Sometimes it can help us remember why we do what we do everyday and the things that are most important to us. I’m going back to my roots as an elementary-school SLP. I’ll get back into those classrooms and work side by side with the teachers. I’ll plan good lessons and bad lessons, my best IEPs and my worst. I’ll meet new friends and colleagues and have students who melt my heart. And I’ll miss my former colleagues, friends, and students everyday. I’ll miss the training and supervising, the problem solving and program development…but I’ll find a new niche in this new adventure

Sometimes we have to make tough decisions – as humans, as parents, as professionals. Change is hard but can also be for the best. Next week this change becomes reality. So here we go…