If you are reading this your school year is either over or almost over. If it’s over, the first thing you should do is exhale. Whew! If it’s not over yet, hang in there; you are almost at the finish line. Either way, you should be proud of yourself. After a few days of rest and relaxation, organize all the digital materials you accumulated during “Operation Work from Home” because you’ll be able to use them again whether working from school or home; and organized materials always make life easier.
If you haven’t done so already, make a list of action items that you were not able to complete due to restrictions as well as tasks you would typically complete at the beginning of the year. In case you are wondering, compile a list of IEP and re-evaluation due dates that are needed at the beginning of the school year. If you are an SLP who likes to incorporate crafts or make your own therapy materials, remember to stash household goods (i.e. cereal boxes, shipping boxes, paper towel rolls, toilet tissue rolls, water bottles, etc.) Personally, I am excited about making the sensory bottles with water and glitter. If you’re an SSG (The Stepping Stones Group) employee and have no idea where to start, you should check out the “Trash to Treasure” webinar. Of course, you can always check out YouTube and Google; but why not earn continuing education hours while you prep, which leads to the next suggestion. ASHA has granted access to the ASHA Learning Pass until June 30, 2020. Now would be a great time to earn continuing education hours so that you don’t have to stress obtaining hours during the busy school year.
The next suggestion requires a little collaboration with your colleagues. If you’re an SLP who really loves language and literacy, it would be a great idea to find out what books and/or novels the ELA (English Language Arts) teachers are planning to use next year. Knowing ahead of time enables you to gather and/or create speech and language materials and activities that will help support your students general education curriculum with more specificity. I know it may seem like a lot considering the whirlwind of chaos we all just experienced; however, planning and prepping now allows you to work at your own pace while minimizing stress factors for the next year.
The best way to prep for the next year is to start out feeling energized, refreshed and happy. With that being said, it is important to maintain your mental, physical and emotional health. It is imperative that you spend time with your family and friends, engage in activities you enjoy and/or learn new hobbies. Keep your daily “to do” lists short, and smile knowing that you are amazing and you can only get better.