5 Tips For A Successful School Year

Another school year is quickly approaching. While I am excited to see what this new year holds, I am also a big ball of nerves and anxiety! Here’s the thing, last was a rough one! I mean really rough! At one point I questioned if wanted to keep working in the schools. I even questioned if I wanted to continue working as an SLP. I know I’m not the only one that had a rough year, so if your year was a tough one too know that you are not alone! Over spring break I found myself lying on a yoga mat in my living room floor. I had this overwhelming sense of “this is what calm and relaxed feels like.” I had completely forgotten what it felt like. I had been stressed out and anxious for so long that it was a foreign feeling. As I was lying there I realized I had to change things. No one else was going to change things...this was on me! I really thought about the things I could change. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggled at times for the rest of the year, but things were so much better when I started making changes. I didn’t dread my job anymore. I quit listening to negativity. When I look back at last year, I am trying to focus on all of the positive things that happened, the successes we found in my therapy room, the parent that came running over when she saw me to show me how far her preschooler had come with his communication, the way our students and staff came together when tragedy struck, and the strengthened relationships with my students and  my co-workers. 

As I started to prepare for this upcoming year, I spent a lot of time thinking of ways to be proactive. To make this year much more successful than last year. 

Here is a list of my top 5 tips to try and make this year a successful one!

This is actually the area I don’t struggle with as much. I really don’t consider myself type A, unless legal documents and deadlines are involved. I literally have 3 different planners right now...one for work, one for personal, and one for workout and meal planning (something I’m not great at, but plan to work on this year.) For work I use a planner that I created (I am a paper and flair pen kind of gal). Click HERE to checkout the planned that I use. Some you may be digital planner people (I try but I just can’t do it)! To take a peek at my friend Karen, The Pedi Speechie’s, digital planner click HERE

This one tip has THREE components!
A Set boundaries and expectations with your students. When students know what is allowed and what is expected of them you will all have a much better year. (Yes I know this isn’t going to be the case with every student on your caseload, but it will help with many of them.)
B Set boundaries and expectations with your colleagues. Tell your co-workers up front what will and will not work for you (within reason). I have already told several of my special education teachers (we have some changes this year) that I am happy to help when I can, however my job has to be completed first. I’m not being rude, but if my work isn’t completed guess who is in trouble...ME! The staff I helped isn’t in trouble, they finished their job..It’s on ME!. (Remember...I’m trying to decrease stress and anxiety this year.) 
C Set boundaries and expectations with yourself. One of my boundaries is that work stays at work unless it’s an emergency. That doesn’t make me a bad SLP! It actually makes me a better SLP! It keeps me from dreading going home only to continue working. I have other relationships to work on outside of work, so my time at home is focused on myself and my relationships with family and friends. It also means that I have to protect my time at work. I have to make sure I stay focused and complete my “to-do list” in a timely manner. 
 Form relationships with your students and co-workers. I don’t mean you need to be BFF with the teacher in the room next door (if you are BFFs that’s great) and please don’t become BFFs with your students. Talk to your students, know your students, respect your students. This will build a trusted relationships with them. BONUS...when students know you care about them they work harder for you and they show you more respect. When it comes to the co-workers talk to them, form a relationship with them, and respect them. When you respect them they will (hopefully) respect you. HINT...If you haven’t been told before, your school secretaries and custodians can be your lifesaver. Form a professional relationship with them. 
In this day of social media (yes I know Pinterest is technically a search engine and not social media) we all see the staged, beautiful, perfect version of therapy sessions and therapy rooms. Some people may have these perfect lives (I doubt it! Social media is the highlight reel!), but that doesn’t mean you have to wear yourself out trying to keep up with Pinterest pins, Instagram photos, or Facebook posts. If I had to guess 90% or more of my therapy isn’t “Pinterest Perfect” and my rooms sure aren’t decked out in decor. It doesn’t make my kids like me any less and it doesn’t decrease their progress. 

Finally....(If you here me say nothing else LISTEN to this one)
Don’t lose yourself in work. Provide the best services you can for your students, complete your work by or before the deadline, etc., but take care of yourself too. When you get home do something you enjoy! Go for a walk! Go for a massage! Go spend time with friends! If you don’t take time for yourself you will burn out...I PROMISE! 

I hope these tips help make this school year a little more successful than last year. We can do this! Remember why you choose this career in the first place! 

See you soon!,