As a CF, I really didn't know what to expect. The day I walked into my little room was full of emotions that ranged from delighted joy that I had my first "big girl" job and sheer terror as I had no idea what kind of trials I would face in the year to come. My imagination was filled with the kind of wonderful materials and options that you find in a university clinic which was (of course) completely wrong when I stepped into that room. A room that had one bookshelf full of an assortment of materials that were somewhat well-loved and somewhat unhelpful.
Lesson number 1- Make sure you have something of your own to start out (something versatile) even if you aren't sure what setting you'll work in. If you do know, that is an even better opportunity to stock up and look for ideas. (Dollar tree is a great friend. Super Duper is a great friend. Pinterest is a great friend.)
Lesson number 2- It's your space now. Organize it. I started by plastering the walls with posters but rearranging the meager supplies first would have been in my best interest. I waited for about three days before I tore into that bookshelf and fixed the Weber cards into a presentable collection. This year, materials come before wall decorations.
Lesson number 3- Reading the clients files gives you a good idea of what's going on, but you really need to take that first week in therapy to get to know their personalities. Yes, I admit that the first week of therapy wasn't my best. I just wanted to get to know my students and see how the information in the files connected to those children. It means you have to make up for those more laid-back sessions later, but it also meant the kids connected with me faster.
Lesson number 4- Scheduling. Everyone's favorite nightmare. I learned the best way to work on my schedule was to let the EC teachers do their thing first and go from there. Yes, I had to re-do my schedule about 10 times before it worked but it did eventually work. (Also, some kids can't stand each other so expect to change the groups around.) SLPs in the school need to be flexible.
In other news, I broke down and bought a game at Walmart. I know, I know...I broke my thrifty habits by paying $13 for a game (it was, however, on clearance).
I like this game because it can be used to target phonics as well as helping with spelling. I have students that need help in this area and phonics tiles can get boring with repeated uses. I'll admit that you can probably make a homemade version of Scrabble scoop using a bowl, some old spoons, letter tiles, and word cards using laminated note cards. I also could wait for it to appear at a yard sale or goodwill, but I didn't want to count up all of the little tiles. I took the easy way out this round and don't feel ashamed in the least as it's okay to go this route sometimes. It counts as my once a month "nice" material pick (usually I buy something from Super Duper).