February 3, 2014

First World Problems

I have taken the last few weeks off from blogging, only because I felt myself getting really burned out. Tons of IEPs, the holidays, returning to work after the break and being faced with a pile of things that needed to be done -- there were just a lot of days where I had to take a step back and breathe. I think most of us get to this point once in a while. There are so many frustrations we face in our line of work and at the end of the day I still sometimes ask myself whether all of my efforts are really making a difference for these kids. It just feels that there aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish the things we need to get done. 

With these feelings of discouragement I decided that I needed a little air from anything therapy-related outside of my job, which included blogging as well as creating materials. I gave myself some time to rearrange my thoughts and looking at my problems from a different perspective. Things could be so much better, but they could also be a whole lot worse. So let's sit back and think about the negative things about our jobs, but then put them into a different light:
  • Sometimes I just don't know if therapy is making a difference for some of these kids ...but at least it won't hurt them!
  • Writing reports takes forever ...but at least I have tons of templates now, making the process a little bit faster.
  • My $250 budget/year to use on both conferences and therapy materials never seems to be enough ...but at least I have the talent needed to make a lot of my own materials.
  • I feel like I don't get much done despite getting to work at 6:30am every day ...but I have a great relationship with our custodian - we're the only two people there at that hour.
  • I spend a lot of money out of pocket on games and therapy materials ...but at least they now belong to me.
  • A lot of my students' progress is slow ...but at least they're making progress.
  • There are a lot of difficult parents ...but for every difficult parent there are 10 that are great to work with.
  • Most of my students don't follow through with their homework ...but I have to buy fewer special toys for the homework prizebox.
  • Some IEPs are extremely stressful ...but I am part of a super supportive special ed team.
  • There are still 79 days of school left ...but then we get a 10-week long summer break!
  • My summer will likely be spent teaching Extended School Year to make ends meet ...but it's only half-days!
  • My TpT store isn't turning as much of a profit as I had hoped given all the hours I've put into making materials ...but it pays the phone bill.
  • Most of my weekends are spent doing something work-related ...but I won't have to scramble as much during the week.
  • I'm not always sure that my students will generalize their skills ...but we have a super supportive general education team at our site.
  • All of us on teacher salaries are drastically underpaid ...but at least I'm still new enough to the district where I move up a little bit on the payscale each year and get to look forward to a raise.
  • Sometimes my students make me cry ...but more often, they make me laugh.
  • My Speech room is too small to store my things ...but at least I won't lose anything.
  • I don't have time to plan sessions ...but I usually come up with something anyway.
  • And most importantly: if I had not become an SLP I would not have met my Master clinician during my school-based internship who has become my best friend.
These are just a few of the things we face, but with some effort you can put a new spin on  almost all of them. Looking at it from a different angle really does help. It is nice to feel motivated again to jump right back into things!

Reading over this again now, I realize that all of these things are total first world problems. Life really isn't so bad!
~Viola

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