Ringing in the New Year

It’s time to ring in the new year! In a few days, we will be heading back to school or work. Our students will be heading back after having a few weeks off. That is a lot! Why am I mentioning this? Because sometimes after time off from school, students often forget the expectations and what they’re working on so we must remind them! Plus, now is the time where we can re-evaluate our goals or set new ones. Let’s talk about ways to kick off the new year the right way!

Reestablish Rapport

Take time to rebuild rapport after those few weeks off. One way to reestablish rapport is to engage in conversations with your students about their time off. Instead of asking your students what they got for the holidays, ask what they did during their time off. If you’re in a group session, encourage the other students to participate in the conversation even if it’s not their turn to share. I’ve noticed that my students will often wait until the other person is done sharing so then they can share, instead of engaging with the other student(s). Remember that it’s okay to put down the data sheets to establish rapport!


Review School Rules

With all that time off, they have more than likely forgotten some (or all) of the school’s rules and expectations or even your specific rules and expectations. We all know what happens when students have a few days off. I shouldn’t have to remind you of Thanksgiving/Fall Break…do I? Now is the time to remind them of those rules and expectations. You’ll only thank yourself later!


Review Student’s Goals

I also like to take the time to review goals with my students. This is a perfect time to remind them of why they are coming to therapy and to hold them accountable. Our students should be aware of what they are working on and what the end goal is! I’ve also found that my students work harder when they know how close they are to mastering a sound or a goal. Be careful though, this doesn’t work with all students!


What Are Your Goals?

Let’s not forget about ourselves! What goals do you have? What goals are you going to set? This is the time of the year where I’ll make a list of students that I want to dismiss from services. My goal is to dismiss them by the end of the year! I place that list somewhere I can see at all times. This holds me accountable. So, make a list of your goals and check back at the end of the year to see if you have achieved them!


I hope these ideas help you start off the new year right and finish off the end of the year strong! Don’t forget with any time off, it is important to re-establish rapport, review students’ goals, review your own goals, and discuss school rules and expectations.

Happy New Year!


Author: Courtney Rockhill M.Ed., CCC-SLP

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