Let me ask you a question. Do you sometimes flirt with the idea of leaving the speech therapy field? Don’t worry; you can be honest with me (trust me, I won’t tell a soul). Listen, we’ve all felt that way before. Sometimes the IEPs get crazy. Sometimes the parents yell. Sometimes the administrators just don’t get us or understand what we do. Sometimes . . . it just gets rough. I feel you.
I have to be honest with you
Not too long ago I was in a slump. I was losing focus and stepped back and wondered if this was the right profession for me. A good friend of mine noticed that I was a bit off so he invited me out to lunch. While we were eating pizza, he asked me to do something that I will never forget. He handed me a pen and instructed me to divide my napkin into 3 separate columns.
Then he gave me 3 simple instructions:
- 1. In the first column, write down all the things in the past 2 months that have made you smile so wide that it hurt.
- 2. In the second column, write down all the things in the past 2 months that made you laugh so hard that you were sure milk was going to squirt out of your nose.
- 3. In the third and final column, write down all the things in the past 2 months that made you so excited that you simply could not get a wink of sleep at night because you couldn’t stop thinking about it.
He and I looked at the scribbled up napkin together and then he goes, “Erik, you see any items that appear in more than one column? What is overlapping?”
And it all came together
I couldn’t believe it. Speech therapy appeared in ALL THREE COLUMNS and I didn’t even REALIZE IT, but it made SO MUCH SENSE, TOO! My students always made me smile wider than a school bus. They always made me laugh my head off. They always kept me up at night because I was always so pumped to try new speech therapy approaches with them in the morning. As cheesy as this may sound, I told him, “DUDE, I LOVE SPEECH THERAPY!”
He punched me in the arm and said, “No duh, man!”
Stay strong and never lose sight!
Sometimes the paperwork gets crazy. Sometimes the parents get a bit unpredictable. Sometimes the administrators act strange. But remember, we are doing it all for the kiddos. The speech kiddos. OUR speech kiddos. We were put on this planet to do one thing – help our students become the best possible communicators they can be!
In closing . . .
If you ever feel down in the dumps, grab a pen and a napkin and make those three columns like my buddy instructed me to. It just might help you gain some much needed perspective.