There are just so many things I love about the field of speech-language pathology. I adore the smiles and laughter that come from my students, I simply can’t get enough of collaborating with parents and teachers, and I truly enjoy pushing my brain to the limits to come up with the best and most unique speech therapy ideas out there.
But ya know what else I love?
I love the fact that, as a school-based speech-language pathologist, I get to wear so many different hats!
Different hats?! Huh?!
For sure! Think about it. As an expert in communication, I’m not just another body in the building. I’m so much more than that. I’m a potpourri of sorts. A delicate mixture of all the right ingredients that enable me to help all children to grow as confident and effective communicators. SLPs are a rare breed, and below I have attempted to describe a pair of my favorite hats that I find myself wearing almost every single day.
My stand-up comedian hat!
The most effective educators are the ones that make it a priority to bring humor into the speech therapy room whenever possible. Now, of course I know that humor is subjective, but when I preach that we all should try to be a little more funny while teaching, I’m simply encouraging everyone to not be afraid to look like a goof ball, here and there. For example, I often show my students embarrassing pictures of myself when I was in elementary school. I’m the first one to joke about my crazy hair and my uncool clothing (haha!). With this comedic attempt to share my past with my students while teaching them, we all share a chuckle and those giggles usually transition perfectly into the day’s lesson. I believe that my comedic attempts help to make my speech therapy room a more interesting and relaxing environment. And that totally increases my students’ motivation. So do me a favor, rock your stand-up comedian hat with pride because you sure are one FUNNY SLP!
My game show host hat!
I recently came across an article online that was titled The Top 5 Things that Every Game Show Host Needs To Do. It really struck a cord with me and I couldn’t help but notice just how many similarities there were between the role of a game show host and the role of an SLP. As mentioned in the article, “a game show host single-handedly has the ability to make or break a game show by controlling the experience of each participant or audience member. The host controls a game show’s rules, pacing, audience involvement, and more.” Doesn’t that sound familiar? Just replace the words ‘game show’ with ‘speech therapy session’ and replace the words ‘participants’ with ‘students.’ SLPs can create a fantastic experience within the speech therapy room by remembering to explain every single piece that pertains to the lesson, recapping to make sure everyone is up-to-speed with everything, and by making sure that every person is involved in the session, even if it’s not that specific person’s turn to answer. So do me a favor, rock your game show host hat with pride because you sure are one SPECTACULAR SLP!
And there’s even MORE hats!
By no means do I consider this post to be an all encompassing list of hats that I wear. It’s just a short list that begins to make mention of my personal favorites. Can you think of some other hats that YOU wear? Perhaps a coach hat? (Your pep talks might be the best!) Or maybe an artist hat? (Your art activities might be pure magic!) Or maybe even a police hat? (Like that one time that you broke up that fight in the middle of the hallway! Haha!)
In closing . . .
Either way, regardless of your hat or when you wear it, one thing is certain: we SLPs are special messengers. We carry valuable knowledge and deliver those precious gifts to the minds and hearts of our students. As SLPs, we posses a vast amount of information that allows us to successfully connect with our students in order to appropriately diagnosis and treat a variety of speech, voice, and language difficulties. We truly understand that teaching our students to shine as communicators is one of the most rewarding missions that we could ever be a part of. So do me a favor, rock any and all of your hats because you sure are one TERRIFIC SLP!