If you are blessed to be a part of molding the minds of tomorrow by working in a school system, you will be juggling multiple responsibilities, for multiple children, with multiple disorders. The most important thing I can tell you is to budget your energy.
I told this to a friend the other day and got an eye roll so big I feared surgery would be necessary to reorient their eyes! Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but this seems like such a cop-out cliché that I understood the reaction. However, it has been the best policy for me, and I notice a STARK difference in the times when I do budget my energy versus when I do not. I want to share some concrete strategies I employ to help me do this.
The first thing is to plan your week in advance. Planning in advance allows you to have insight into where your energy needs to be directed. Take time to prioritize the events that are coming up.
Just as important as planning work time is planning to have time AWAY from the demands of your caseload. Burnout is a real threat to speech-language pathologists everywhere, especially in school settings where we are often overloaded with kids, buying our own materials because there is not enough school funding for supplies, inconsistent or absent formal space for therapy, misunderstanding of our role by our coworkers... At some point, we all feel a little bit of burnout. A consequence of burnout is being less efficient and effective at our (super important and totally awesome) jobs. Here’s how to help keep burnout at bay.
One last bit of advice I would like to share is specifically for those who travel between sites of service. I have provided travel therapy for most of my career; these tools have helped me most with the trek.
I know the prospect of time management can seem a little overwhelming and scary. I hope that these suggestions come as some use to you this year, and maybe decrease some of that intimidation.
Author: Adele Dunkin, MCD, CCC-SLP