This past semester I had the privilege of working as a student clinician in the DOE. I had no idea what to expect and no idea that I would walk away with so many amazing new relationships. I experienced so much love from all of the kids it was difficult to say goodbye.
Your program may be different but mine required us to be placed in the DOE for our second semester.. so here are my tips for the process.
1. Respect your supervisor and the school. Ask questions like where you can park, have your lunch, go to the bathroom, take a break, etc. You may not be allowed in the the teachers lounge. Know these things to avoid conflicts.
2. Dress professionally/ behave professionally. I have heard some horror stories about graduate clinicians getting a little too comfortable in their placement so I established a few guidelines for myself.
I live in Hawaii and my school placement literally requires no dress code. Teachers and therapists wear shorts and sandals. Even though this is acceptable I have tried to adapt a professional appearance with my go to 5 things to avoid (no rips, no shorts, no midriff, no cleavage, no open toed shoes). A tip my supervisor gave me was to always have my hair up, this is because you never know when there is an outbreak of head lice in the school.
Greet other members of the staff! This allows for rapport building and it’s nice feeling like a part of the team.
Ask your supervisor what you can do to help support them. Take notes, input notes in the computer, write reports, update IEP goals, etc.
3. Get organized with your caseload and plan ahead. You will have a lot of groups. Group therapy was something new for me and will likely be for most of you as well. Make it fun! I love utilizing Pinterest (click here to access my SLP Pinterest board) for activity ideas and rewarding the kiddos with a sticker… or two. 🙂
4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! I’m am the queen of questions. Just think, the next time you may/ or may not be in the DOE, YOU will be the SLP!
5. Practice report writing. My supervisor and school did not require that I write a report this semester but I volunteered to do a few anyway. Report writing is very different in the DOE, the language is different, and the goals are written with specific elements that may not be necessary in other settings.
A few extra things to leave you with…
– Try and attend an IEP meeting. This is a great opportunity to see what your expected role in these meetings will be and to observe what other members roles are as well.
-Don’t forget a thank-you card for your supervisor at the end of the semester. It’s the least we can do for all of their time and support.
Have fun in your school placement! If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment!