I do not know about anyone else but I am ready for THE END. I mean, I’m ready for the end of the school year. This has been a tough year. In all my years, I have never had so many out of state students come in or as many of the initial evaluations. So, YES! I have been on the count-down wagon for some time.
Truth be told, I know the chaos of a fast year is not the only thing that has me stressed. My family is also looking at a possible BIG MOVE and that requires a lot of preparation. Keeping my sanity has been #1 on my TO-DO List. Here are the TOP 5 things I have been doing to maintain my sanity and hopefully, they can help you keep yours too!
1. LIST IT & PRIORITIZE. Okay, I am notorious for making lists just so I can cross things off and feel like I accomplished something for the day. It’s true! Don’t tell anyone but sometimes I add simple things on my list just so I can feel super accomplished (get out of bed, feed the kid, etc..). So I highly suggest you make your list of what you HAVE to accomplish (make a separate list for WANT to accomplish) and put your deadlines next to it. This will help you prioritize your list and life!
2. “I’m HAPPIEST WHEN…list”. I know, it is another list. My husband hates the mess I leave behind in lists but I am a very visual person. I feel like if I can “see” it then I can “be” it. Write a list of 5-15 things that make you smile. If possible, make it be things that will not be unhealthy for you in the long run. For example, I’m happiest when I am scarfing down a huge 8 inch chocolate bunny (left overs from Easter). However, although I will be immediately happy from chocolate bliss, in the long run my hips will not be pleased with me. My list contains things like, playing a board game with my daughter, tickling her senseless so I can hear her melodious laugh, or fill the tub with yummy bubble bath and relax with a good book while soaking! What makes you happy?
3. VISION BOARD REWARDS. Search the internet or old magazines for pictures representing what you will reward yourself with or make another list. Again, you do not have to break the bank (but feel free to put that family camping trip or pedicure on your list if it is in the budge). For each day you complete your list or after all deadlines are done.. reward yourself! YOU DESERVE IT!
Summer: Open-Ended Games
4. MAKE YOUR JOB EASIER. By this time of year, planning is about surviving the last few therapy sessions. Make it easier on yourself. Teachers pay Teachers has a lot of wonderful end of year products. Personally, I start Summer a little early using open-ended games and Summer resources. You know, all the kids are dreaming of it just as we are.
5. REFLECT and ENJOY. On my last session with the kids, I like to talk about what they learned over the year and what they plan to do during the summer to continue practicing. I like them to think of practical ways and when necessary I help facilitate that thread of thinking. For example, practice their sound while reading aloud to parents for 5-15 minutes a day, play “I spy” in the car for describing skills, inferencing skills, and practicing fluency and articulation.
Hope we all SURVIVE THE END with a smile and a feeling of accomplishment! Do you have any end-of-the-year survival tips or traditions from your speech room?
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Tamatha Cauckwell is an ASHA certified Speech Language Pathologist with experience working in a variety of settings. Prior to obtaining her Masters in Communicative Sciences and Disorders, she was an SLP Assistant, a Self-contained Special Education Teacher, and a Preschool Teacher and Director. Her combined professional career experiences have given her a unique outlook and understanding regarding behavior management and collaborative needs when working with other professionals, colleagues, and families.