So I’ve now been distance learning exclusively with my students throughout the fall.
I figured out a bunch of things.
Okay, that’s an exaggeration.
I figured out one thing.
And it is this: a different service delivery model doesn’t mean being a different kind of SLP.
Bitmoji classrooms are cute and admirable and fun.
And it was fun, in July, on a break and setting up my digital dollhouse office with expensive furniture. I figured by the end of break I’d know how to be a different kind of person.
A fun, cute person who cares about bulletin boards and making things symmetrical and does not throw everything in a big pile. I WAS GOING TO LEARN HOW TO USE ALL THESE AWESOME NEW THINGS AND BE AN AWESOME NEW SLP.
I think you can guess were this is going?
I am not a new SLP.
My Bitmoji classroom, with its healthy plants and $800 throw rugs, languishes in obscurity. I’ve kiiiind of figured out how to use Boom Cards, but I don’t really like them. I’ve never really used a ton of stuff from TPT.
My actual speech therapy? Isn’t half bad. At some point I was like “Oh, so this is just… speech therapy? But on a computer?”
Just being yourself?
Here’s what I know about myself as an SLP: I develop good relationships with the parents and the kids, I follow their lead, and I have lots of fun materials organized *enough* that I know i can find what I need to keep their interest while working on a target.
I also know that when I learn new things I forget/abandon them almost immediately if I don’t find some way to share the information. To that end, I put together some of the resources I’ve tried out (some of which I use daily!) in a Padlet.
It’s a handy way of organizing links with more control than you get from, say, Pinterest, (and I like the way it previews links so they’re not all lost as the nth google doc of HERE ARE FIVE THOUSAND ONLINE EDUCATION RESOURCES YOU MUST TRY).
AND you can give them star ratings! (A few are on the list because they’re well known, but they are a little… not good.)
(So Padlets are kind of at their worst and most chaotically overwhelming when embedded in a blog page; maybe click on this link instead?)
Just Keep Swimming
The Coronacoaster means that sometimes I feel like I’ve got distance learning pretty figured out, and sometimes I, um, do not. Some days are genuinely magical. Some of my students with the most profound needs are making incredible progress.
Some days California is on fire and families are stressed out and have so much going on that speech is (understandably) not a priority. So we adjust.
The world is really, really complicated right now in ways it’s kind of not worth discussing.
But here’s what I do know:
Whatever SLP you are, be that. If get kids to giggle by pretending you don’t know there’s a pillow on your head, be that SLP. If you’re the SLP who can talk about Roblox in excruciating detail with kids who are still obsessed, be that SLP. If you’re the SLP who’s been meaning to write a blog post about self-acceptance for over two months and decided it would be more fun than billing right now but you swear you’ll do billing later so it’s okay?
Be that. Be you. Together, we can do this.