Preventing Burnout in the School Setting

Working as an SLP in any capacity takes some real grit, perseverance, extreme organizational skills, and time management.


It can be mentally exhausting, to say the least, attempting to juggle high productivity demands while remembering why you got into the field to begin with — to help others. Balancing productivity alongside caregiving tendencies and societal problems is, understandably, a large mental load to carry. For starters, remember that this is a valid feeling and is no reflection on your personal work ethic. Boundaries are an extremely important skill set to utilize in any area of your life and should not be ignored while working as an SLP. But defining boundaries can be difficult. Below are some examples of certain areas that should be continually audited to make sure they are in tact in order to keep yourself mentally healthy and happy:

Financial boundaries: In the school setting where resources are scarce, it’s tempting to spend a lot of your own well-earned money on therapy materials with your students. I get it - they’re flashy, colorful, fun, and will seemingly make life easier. Yes, they do have their place but to a certain degree. More often than not, the most simple of tasks are the most successful. Coloring pages, basic books, card games, and pencil/paper tasks have become my go-to materials, so don’t feel the need to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy materials.

Time boundaries: Time can also feel like a scarce material within the school setting. The bell schedule, deadlines, therapy schedules - it all feels very rushed and everything can feel like an emergency all the time. Some tasks can be done quickly within your 10-15 minute break and some require deeper thought and longer time chunks to complete. Personally, every year, I set aside 1 hour or so in the morning to get my deep thought tasks completed and I never schedule students during this time. This has essentially saved my productivity standards and has allowed me to complete tasks so I’m not scrambling to get them done in the evening. 

Space boundaries: Space is oftentimes also a limited resource in the school environment with therapy rooms not being provided or taken away mid-year, so setting your space boundaries to have enough silence to get things completed can be tough. Teletherapy has admittedly allowed me to have my space boundaries re-established but when I was in-person, I oftentimes completed paperwork in small closets with the door closed, in my car, or on the playground when it wasn’t recess. It wasn’t ideal but it got the job done!

Property boundaries: Rushing between school locations with bags of materials leaves itself open to potentially losing or leaving stuff at locations. When I was in-person, I kept my small amount of things very organized, labeled, and in a bag. If I left something at a school location, I took whatever time out of my day to go retrieve it.

Always remember, boundaries are our way of keeping ourselves safe and we have every right to protect these areas of our life. Guilt should never be in our vocabulary when setting these boundaries, either. You are allowed to change your boundaries as needed and the more they are identified, practiced, and implemented, you become more safe and fulfilled to actually be the best SLP for your students.


Author: Griffin Parrott

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. The content is based on the author's personal experiences, research, and opinions. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified professional or expert before making any decisions or taking action based on the information provided in this blog.

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