Goals Aren’t Just for Students – They’re Also for SLPs!
Successful school SLPs don’t just set goals for their students – they also set goals for themselves! And as SLPs know (all too well), goals are most effective when they are individualized, specific and measurable.
Here’s how to set targeted goals and prepare for your best school year yet!
1. Begin by thinking about your own strengths and weaknesses.
When you set your goals, consider how you can capitalize on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. Could you be more organized and efficient? Could you be more willing to ask for help? Could you be better at returning emails or phone calls? Can you tap into your creativity to solve problems more often? Can you use your expertise to help others?
2. Write tangible goals to help tackle daily, weekly and monthly tasks.
Think about each of the responsibilities you have as an SLP. How will you approach scheduling? What technology will you use to document services, referrals, meeting minutes, lesson plans and RTIs? How will you keep up with assessments, data, and IEP information? Do you have a plan or templates to use for communications with parents, teachers, administrators, etc.?
3. Consider therapy materials, tools, equipment and resources you’ll need for your students.
Do you have sufficient technology – tablets, computers, AAC devices? Are you ready to switch to virtual services should schools close? Do you have useful online SLP resources you’ll need bookmarked and ready to go? Will you be prepared with SLP tools and games and activities to support fluency or build social skills? Do you have low-tech tools like books, dry-erase boards, sticky notes, etc., ready? If not, set goals to obtain the supplies you need as soon as possible.
4. Set up short-term career goals.
Set aside time to schedule your next professional development opportunity. In the upcoming year, will you attend a conference, take a workshop or participate in virtual training? Have you joined a professional organization or a local, regional or national SLP consortium? Have you kept up with licensing requirements and CEUs? Are there any new speech therapy books or resources you want to read? Do you want to start an initiative or group or build a program at your school? Could you enlist the help of a mentor or help mentor a new SLP, SLPA or SLP student? What else can you do to further your career and build your expertise in the short run?
5. Don’t forget about your long-term career goals.
Where would you like to be professionally in five years? Ten years? Are you interested in building a career as a traveling SLP, or would you like to settle down in one location? Do you want to work through an agency or for a school district? Do you want to keep practicing speech therapy with kids, or would you rather move into a leadership role?
6. While you’re at it, set some personal goals.
Maintaining work-life balance is essential to avoiding burnout and finding fulfillment in your career as a school SLP. To tap into happiness, would it help to pack your lunch more often, exercise after work or take up a new hobby? Could you be better about leaving work at work and not bringing it home with you? Do you want to spend more time with friends or family? What can you do to take care of your mind, body and spirit so you’ll feel refreshed when it’s time to work with your students?
With a bit of strategic planning and forethought, you’ll feel organized and ready for a successful school year!
To learn where students and schools need your specialized expertise, see our exciting SLP career opportunities across the nation!