I recently saw an article floating around Facebook listing 13 jobs for people who don’t want to work a a lot. And right there smack in the middle was the listing “Speech-language pathologist”. I’ll be the first person to tell you that any time I see my job title pop up anywhere I get excited because “someone knows what I do!” is a fun feeling. I chuckled, and kept scrolling.
But as I moved on from the article, I found I really couldn’t move on. I’m not one to take offense easily to much–I roll with the punches pretty well. Here was my thought process, though: “I work a lot. Am I doing something wrong? It’s fine, it’s just an internet article. Yeah, but do they know what I do? It’s. just. an. internet. article. Yeah…..but sometimes my job is really hard! I should write something. Maybe I’ll write something.”
So….I’m writing something.
Some days my job is really easy. Just the other day, my height was used to help decorate the top of my school’s Christmas tree we put in the lobby, and I got to sit with some of my favorite little friends during an assembly put on by the local orchestra.
Sometimes Often, you’ll find me in the toy aisle of some of any given store in my town hunting for new therapy materials and ideas. I drink a lot of coffee, and wear silly t-shirts on casual Fridays. I get a winter, spring and Thanksgiving break not to mention summer.
Other days, I’m exhausted because it’s IEP season, and I have 12 case conferences in a single day (and those IEPs just don’t write themselves!). More often than I’d like, I walk into school on a Monday to find a child on my caseload has moved away over the weekend and I didn’t get to say goodbye. What’s more, is we had just started to make headway on his severe stutter. Or, I walk into my clinic job after school to find the tiniest baby on my caseload is in the hospital with pneumonia. Again. Other times, my kiddo at school is having another screaming meltdown because he needs something, but can’t express himself enough to tell us what it is.
I write a lot of paperwork. A LOT. I take work home in the evenings, and spend many a Sunday afternoon curled up on the couch with my laptop, a blanket and watch football with my people. Even if you’re part of the “I don’t take work home forever and ever amen” tribe (teach me your ways!!), I’ve yet to meet an SLP who responds to the question of “Do you have time in your day to XYZ” with “My whole day is wide open!”. I evaluate, plan, treat, problem solve, take data, problem solve again, trouble shoot technology, hold meetings, and attempt to get to the bathroom.
This picture from my girl Meredith at Peachie Speechie sums it up so, so well:
I work. So very much. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m so blessed every day to wake up and help change children’s lives. I cherish every “thank you” from parents, every “we’re so glad you’ve been a part of our lives” card, and every “Ms. Jones, do you see me today?!” from my little loves in the hallway at school. If you ask me, I have the best job in the world. But if you want to tell me it’s the easiest? Come hang out with me for a day. And bring a cup of coffee along with your running shoes.