Archive for April 2014

{Day 1} Living a more balanced life, or so I hope.

Monday, April 28, 2014

If it hasn't been obvious, I have been less active on the blog and creating Teachers Pay Teachers products. For a while I couldn't quite figure out why. I felt a creative block and to be honest a little over being an "SLP" all the time (read my last post!). Anyone else feel this way?

I realized I can't do or be it all.  I was told by my doctor to try to live a more balanced life! 
It's funny because I hadn't realized how caught up I was in working. Lugging my rolling cart (yes, I bought a dreaded rolling cart!) to and from work was my new ritual. Sad. I am an overachiever at heart. If I could work every hour of the day assessing, writing reports and lesson plans I would. I want to be the best and I want to be perfect. Uh-oh.

Can I get an amen!?
BUT.... a really BIG of April 11th I have not done a single bit of work from home.  Two blissful weeks of Spring Break breezed passed by! Each day I became more of my old self.  I brought out my yarn, gardened, played with my puppy, reconnected with my husband. It was fantastic! Oh the perks of working for the schools!

As going back to school approached, the panic crept it's way back into my brain. I kept thinking of all the looming IEPs, progress reports, DRDPs and assessments.  My calendar for May has more IEPs than actual work days and the number just keeps rising. Here is the part where I start getting caught up in the twisted thinking, "There are so many! How will it ever get done? I don't think I can do that many!? HELP!"

Then I took a breath and thought about this....

Today is Day 1 back at work. I have 31 more days of the school year. I only have my student teacher for 3 more days, so I had no choice but to "WORK IT GIRL!"

No more of this....

I was a MACHINE.  I decided to tackle and complete a few small things on my list. Starting with the things that were most important and due first.

What I did today: All meeting notices for the rest of the year were completed, printed in English and Spanish, stuffed in envelopes (1 for teacher, 1 for parent and 1 for my records) and then sent out. I wrote 5 IEPs (minus the goals and notes). I also assessed 1 preschooler and filled out my student teacher's final evaluation. Oh and I ate lunch too!

Day 1 was a success, I came home with an empty rolling cart!  I am not saying that I will be able to keep up this pace, but I am going to try. I am still doing my job to the best of my ability, but I am not willing to let it take over my life anymore. I am hoping on keeping you updated on my progress to living a more balanced life as Rachel the SLP and the person!

I do not own these photos, I found them all on Pinterest.

Happy Monday!

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Dear Priorities,

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dear Priorities,

When did you get so out of whack? When did screenings, assessments, IEPs, therapy sessions, lesson planning and consulting become my everyday life?  When did you invade my brain to the point that I find it almost impossible to think about anything else but Speech-Language Pathology?  When did you start making me feel so burned out?  SLP is a job that can completely overtake you.  Why?

Because our priorities not in order and we have to do something about it.   Sorry's time to get a re-do.

Do we have to take work home? No. Can we? Yes! Should we? No!! (honestly).
  • In the last few months being an SLP has been utterly exhausting.  I work all day at work and then come home and work some more. I have no separation of work life/home life.  Even if there were not reports to write, I would be finding some cute lesson to plan or looking at pinterest to find the next great thing in the world of SLP.  It just takes over....and you don't even notice.
  • That nagging thing the back of your head "I should get a head start on ____'s IEP". Ignore that thought.
  • That thought of, "oh I will just bring this one report home.." later turns into "I just can't do it!" You then have to sit on your couch "enjoying your tv" while the speech file stares back at you. Guilt sets in.
  • Why do we work like this?  Because the work continues to get piled on.   There is no caseload limit, there is no screening limit, there is no assessment limit.  We are expected to take on whatever is given to us, even if it's not plausible that we get it done during our work hours.  If we don't take it on and explain our overwhelming workload to higher ups, it seems like we are "complaining" or "not doing our job".   All this leaves me feeling frazzled.  
  • So our options are to keep our heads down, work until you can't see straight and have a mental breakdown? OR sound like we are complaining about a legitimate concern and then nothing happens....we have got to change this.  More of us need to speak up!
  • We are also perfectionists (at least a few of us are) and feel like we have to take this all on, after all this is our profession that we chose and love.  It's hard to admit that, "Hey...wait a minute....when did I become this way?  When did it become normal to complete an insane amount of work in an unreasonable amount of time?"
  • What part of our brains are just letting this happen?
I know there have been SLPs who have taken measures to write to their state boards!  You go!! But honestly how many of us actually sat for a minute and thought about HOW MUCH WE DO!? If we did, I bet a lot more of us would be writing....people speak up! We have to get better about voicing our struggles with this profession or nothing will change. Come on!! We are communication specialists after all.

Today I felt blindsided by how "work focused" I had become, carting 10 files home with me over MY vacation...and for what? To get a little bit ahead?  I haven't been the happiest SLP because of this either. A constantly working person, is not a happy person. No wonder I am stressed and no wonder SLPs feel burned out.

I am not sure what the answer is, but I am going to try my very best to leave my work, at work (unless totally necessary). I need my home to be a place of relaxation and solitude. I even took my work e-mail off my phone! (one small step...)
It is okay to tell your body this at the end of the day.  Allow your body and your mind to rest and recharge with no criticism, no looking back, no judgement. Today is done.
I still want to be the best SLP there is (as we all do). I think we are a compassionate group of people who GIVE GIVE GIVE, but sometimes we have to remember to take time to take care of ourselves. At least I do. And remember we can say "enough is enough"...until tomorrow!

I hereby pledge to have a Spring Break free of any working from home. 
Do you? Comment below with why you pledge to be WORK FREE for Spring Break.

Happy Spring.
I wish! hahaha

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Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Oh goodness my life has been busy. Blogging was put on the back burner. Yikes! I have two weeks off soon and plan on writing a little bit more often....

 We got a puppy in December, I have a student teacher this semester and I just got back from the California Speech & Hearing Association Conference in San Fransisco. Woo, busy busy! Let's not forget IEP madness is coming in May with all my preschoolers. I think I can, I think I can!

Back on topic!!!! I have some new products to tell you about, and a giveaway!
Structured Sentence Building (available here)is my new favorite product of mine! I use this with preschoolers, students with apraxia, semantic deficits, and low MLU.
The first scene is a farm and the students practice building the sentences using the included vocabulary cards! When they say the sentence they get to glue the cards onto the scene and then color.

Another simple but fun product is my Slap Happy Animal Game!

Have students seated around a table or in a circle on the floor (preferred).
Spread out all cards, face down (animal not showing) on the table or floor.
Explain to the students that at your cue (e.g. GO!) they are to “slap” a card and hold onto it.
Tell them not to show anyone their card! They are to look at their hand card and think. When they are ready they need to act, sing, make noises, and give descriptive words to get peers to guess their animal.

If the student is successful they keep their card! If not, they put their card in the middle and try again with a different animal. The person with the most hands at the end wins!
**Many other ways to play too! 

Isn't it adorable!? My students are LOVING this! I already printed, laminated and used this today!
Targets: syntax and morphology. Specifically targeting pronouns (he,she, they, his, her, and theirs), some plurals (chicks, lambs, flowers, seeds etc.), some verbs (watching, feeding, painting etc.) and using all in complete sentences.

All graphics property of Winchester Lambourne, Graphics Factory and My Cute Graphics
Ages: 3+

Includes: 35 pages (not all pages shown on the thumbnail it wouldn't fit!)= title page, directions, 12 pronoun "poster" pages, 4 object/animal card pages (24 cards), 2 sorting mats, 11 sentence completion pages (42 sentences), 1 game board page, 1 die, 1 terms of use, 1 credits page.
Game play: Use pronoun pages as a guide. Cut out cards (put face down, in a bag/envelope) have students take turns pulling out an animal or object. They complete the sentence possessive sentence (The carrot is hers). Use sentence cards to practice (he, she, they, his, her, their). After some practice have the students play the board game or use the die to formulate their own spring sentences!
For more information, see directions page for more ideas!

Win ALL THREE new products by entering below. Be on the lookout, it's my birthday next week. Maybe I will have a surprise in store! a Rafflecopter giveaway

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