I’m no stranger to advocacy. I was on a task force in my previous district working on improving conditions for SLPs. When I arrived in my new district, I thought about what we thought was unfair there…and laughed. Not even close.
I inherited a caseload that hovers around 90 students. Ninety. Ten less than 100. And not like 90 artic kids…this is included 2 special education preschool classrooms AND 2 behavior self contained rooms. This is a small school in a rural area with a low SES population. I’ve never had a caseload like this in my career. I’ve grown to love these children and I’ve risen to the new challenges, but I’ve found myself exhausted and frustrated often.
I also know that I was brought here by Him for a reason. To make a change. I deserve better, but even more, the students deserve better.
I don’t have to tell you what having no time means. I make lists of the things that I want to do more of…planning, consultation, collaboration, interventions, push-in, parent education, and lunch bunches. But when I compare these things to my schedule and the things I HAVE to do, something has to give because I don’t have time for it all. And my family doesn’t deserve to their time to be sacrificed either. It’s a delicate balance, one I’m sure your aware of if you are in a similar situation…and I know so many of you are.
As I’ve struggled to maintain some sort of sanity through the year, I’ve continually advocated for myself. Almost every single day I’ve talked to someone about it. Teachers, guidance counselor, district staff, and my principal. I want them to see what I am capable of doing…and not just what I am doing because that’s what I have time for when I’m running group after group after group through my room. I may have even gave an ultimatum…I’m that confident about what I do. I won’t keep quiet about it because it’s not right. I won’t just keep doing it because it’s what’s expected.
I know all this educating I’ve done all year about what I do has made a difference…
Today, my principal called me into her office and told me that she’s hiring another SLP for next school year.
It makes a difference, those things you do. Those conversations. Those little bugs you put in their ears. The hard work. So don’t ever give up on your students or yourself. And we can all complain about how ASHA doesn’t step in on this, but that’s not in our control. Do what YOU can to make a difference.
Now excuse me while I do my little victory dance and scream like a 14 year old girl 🙂