Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sometimes, it's just not going to go the way you want it....

There are days when I feel on top of my little SLP world. It doesn't mean that therapy sessions go as planned, but rather that the kids are making progress. They are listening and participating out of their own free will without multiple prompts from me.  Days like this make me feel much more confident in my abilities as an SLP.

There are other days, like Tuesday, that make me feel completely stressed out for no good reason.

Well, perhaps there are a few reasons:
1) I'm a perfectionist
2) I'm very self-critical
3) I'm more pessimistic in nature

Honestly, I think it takes years to feel fully confident in the field (and I imagine that is the case for all fields). It's not something that any book can teach you. Confidence emerges in the act of practice and performance. It comes when you find a new "trick" to add to your "bag of tricks" or finally hear that *one* student get the /r/ sound in a word after exhausting every idea under the sun. It may be the days where you get to be the one to point out a really great resource to another SLP, teacher, or parent (pinterest is the greatest thing ever). It may be when you make a really cool resource to go along with a book or game to incorporate some tricky goal.

Sadly, the source of my stress this week was GAMES. I don't know why or how my therapy room suddenly became the Twilight Zone. I'll just blame it on the terrible weather. The only thing I heard from my kids was "Let's play a game;" "I don't want this game," "Can we do a game now?". Absolutely 0% focus, which is my worst nightmare as someone who considers behavior management to be her Achilles heel.

 My final breaking point came from the student who spent most of last year in this game-induced funk. I tried so hard to get this student involved in those sessions without a great amount of success. So I finally broke out my last resort....the closet (the one that I didn't have last year so couldn't use this trick.) Yes, I have removed  every single game from my room except 2-3 that I am rotating. The kids can only pick from those three games. It's not something that I really wanted to do, but I just cannot handle the whining right now. (I blame it on doing more inclusion groups and having almost no break asides from lunch). My students have surprised me so far by accepting the change without question.

My poor empty shelf
In the meantime, I found the perfect cowboy clue to use with Armadillo Rodeo next week. (They will get to listen to clips from Walk like an Egyptian the week after.)


  1. I really enjoy your blog! It might be because I can relate on several levels- It's my third year as an SLP (one year ahead), behavior management is also my struggling point, and my name is Amy :)
    The game whiners can be frustrating, but what seems to work for me is having a "data/practice day" then "game day". So if I see them twice a week, the first day they practice and they can earn a game at the end of the next session the second day.
    Good luck, and I'll keep checking in for your ideas!

  2. I use games in a lot of my sessions, I'm not gonna lie. It does help the kids to stay motivated. However, we set up an expectation at the beginning of the year that there will be no whining or complaining. We have a discussion to talk about what whining is and why it is not acceptable. (We also talk about good sportsmanship for winning and losing.) Then, if a student whines or complains, the game will be removed (we do not have to play a game, it just makes speech more fun). They learn quick!

    On the rare occasion that I allow the students to pick the game, the rule is that they have to pick and agree on the game within 2 minutes or I will pick/there will be no game. The main thing with all of this is to simply be consistent. Take away the game once, and they tend to never forget it.

    Talking With Rebecca

  3. Thank you for the suggestions! I will definitely keep those in mind. My normal trick is to give them until the count of five to pick a game. The majority of my kids are great with that asides from my one Negative Nancy in Training lol...I've already had to do a lesson on why we don't say the word "hate" in Speech.