The start of the new school year is a special time for students and the speech language pathologist that works with them. It’s a fresh beginning for many and the opportunity to move forward toward speech and language goals. Thanks to this, it is extremely important not to take this period for granted. Embrace the ability to change items up, get to know your students better, and allow them to get to know you.
Sharing summer adventures
Prior to the session, send an email or letter home to families. Ask them to provide their child with something representing their summer, perhaps two or three items that their child will be able to share and explain. Being able to prepare at home for this will ease them into group activities, and this may help them to not be as self-conscious when speaking. This is particularly helpful for students who are bilingual learners. Allow them to share and ask questions and giving time to answer them. When speech therapists and other school clinicians show interest in the lives of children, it will help them feel important and connect therapists with them.
This is my life
Kids are often curious about the adults they work with in schools. Some people may not want to share a lot of personal details, but that’s not what this is about. It’s nice to be able to give general information to your students to see that you are human, and have a life outside of school, so they can gain more trust. Make a little scrapbook to share a quick story about your life. Include a map of the place you were born. Put photos of your family inside. Include images or ticket stubs from destinations you have traveled to. The sky is the limit, so do whatever you are comfortable sharing. Take time to use this for conversation exchange.
Give students time to ask you questions and reciprocate. Perhaps they have questions or concerns about the new year. This is a great way to help them to ease any fears that they may have. Using a session to build their confidence and your academic relationship will be beneficial for the school year ahead. Bilingual learners may need more assurance that you understand their needs, are interested in them as individuals, and are able to ease their worries. Be open minded and get ready to inspire. If you do this, the sky will be the limit as you begin this new year together.