Proving your value as a school-based SLP

A post by Elissa…

teacher appreciationletter

During my first year as a speech-language pathologist, a CF, in the school system, I had an interesting conversation with a classroom teacher. I was walking down the hall one day (who knows where I was headed- to pick up a student, to attend a meeting, to talk to a teacher…). She was standing at the door and commented, “I wish I could walk around all day…how do I become a speech teacher?”

I’m sure the look on my face was priceless and I took in this statement and calmly responded as non-condescendingly as possible. I don’t remember my exact words but it was something to the effect of, “Well after I completed my undergraduate degree I spent 5 semesters getting my Master’s degree including practicum experience in about 5 different settings…”

Silence, wide eyes…and, “Oooooohhhhh, maybe not”

That was the first (and definitely not the last) time that I had to justify my worth and the value I add to the students, the teachers, the classrooms, the school.

It’s frustrating, right? Who really understands what we do?

“why does he go to speech; he talks fine”

“you can’t pull him from reading, it’s really hard for him”

“why do you need bigger room?”

Even better “why do you need your own room?”

So whose job is it to show everyone what you have to offer? Only you can!!

Most non-SLPs are really never going to fully understand your role but that shouldn’t stop you from trying.

Some ways I’ve done this include:

  • Trainings for staff (and parents) on communication disorders:

highlight the relationship between language and the curriculum

highlight the relationship between articulation/phonology and phonemic awareness/reading

share the impact of a social language impairment

teach about the communication impairments associated with some of the common syndromes or disabilities

invite administrators to observe some of your sessions-I know they’re busy but keep trying to get them in there

  • Go into the general education classrooms – even if you pick one room, one teacher…word of mouth is powerful and good news travels fast!

 

  • Be seen in the school – don’t hide out in your room; eat lunch with staff; get in on their conversations about struggling students – give suggestions to show what you know

 

  • Give your students tools to be successful in the classroom so they can show what you are capable of – and share them with the teachers

 

  • Take on an extra responsibility in your school – I know you are already SO busy but even a small effort can make a huge difference. You may be pleasantly surprised by the things that get offered to you after that – and of course you can say no!

What are some of the ways you have had to advocate for yourself and show your value in the schools you serve? Comment below…

Planning to co-teach?

In the previous post, we discussed getting out of the speech room and into the classroom. We touched on the various models of co-teaching (descriptions found in this printable) and encouraged school-based SLPs to give it a try!

In this post, we’d like to provide some suggestions on how to PLAN for this service delivery model. So keep reading for some tips and your free printable lesson plan template.

Plannin pic

But first, let’s talk about the benefit of this model for students with AND WITHOUT disabilities…

For students with disabilities, this model can effectively increase participation in class, achievement and test scores, social skills and self-esteem. It can increase teacher expectations and generalization of skills. And of course, it helps reduce the missing of class activities.

For students without disabilities, this model can provide exposure to varied instructional strategies and activities. It can also provide additional help to those at-risk with specific skills. It definitely helps increase tolerance of differences. And it absolutely DOES NOT impede their achievement.

So we know the models (or check out the free printable in our last post for a refresher), we know why it’s a good idea (for some, not all students), we’ve found a teaching partner to take it on with us…now how do we plan for it?

First, pick a time to plan together and decide what you will need to accomplish during this time.

Always have a back-up plan in case meeting face-to-face it is out of the question…because it will happen!

Some suggestions – a daily or weekly face-to-face check in and debriefing; a planning notebook; email; post-it notes; phone calls.

Any other thoughts or systems that have worked for you? Comment below!

During the planning session, SLP and teacher will want discuss the following:

Teacher’s role

  • discuss the curriculum content and objectives for the lesson including topics, concepts, activities, outcomes, and methods of instruction
  • discuss common problems in the content

SLP’s role

  • discuss accommodations/modifications, strategies needed for instruction, materials, and activities
  • discuss the specific IEP objectives to be targeted

Together you want to be sure to discuss the co-teaching approach you plan to use; keeping in mind that more than one may be used in any given lesson. Room arrangement is also very important including where your speech-language students will be for each part of the lesson.

Since student assessment is important to both the teacher and SLP, you will want to be sure to talk about how this will take place for the lesson along with the specific supports needed for any given students.

Based on the lesson you’ve planned, don’t forget to outline the tasks you each will need to accomplish before, during and after the lesson. This includes material preparation, who will teach what, and who will assess what.

We have included a free 2-page lesson plan template that can help guide your planning session.

lesson plan pic p.1

Download it here

 

 

 

What are your go-to resources for planning for your co-teaching lessons?