1) Remain flexible.
There are always interruptions in our schedules this time of the year. Classes go on field trips. Band and choir students have performances and extra practices. The district SLP meeting gets rescheduled for next week. We can't control everything around us, so it's important to remain flexible and calm. For your sake and everyone else's.
2) Create and use to-do lists.
It feels so satisfying to cross off even the tiniest most minuscule of tasks. "Make to-do list." CHECK! "Schedule so-and-so's transition meeting." CHECK! "Create and post summer break countdown calendar." CHECK CHECK!
3) Make a playlist to keep you energized and inspired while you work.
I can't say enough about how music helps put me in a good mood. Get your groove on while you write 55 progress reports. Shake your booty while you take inventory of your materials. Inspire yourself when you wake up to a day with five IEP meetings scheduled. Need help getting started? These are my jams for the last few weeks of school.
4) Complete some spring cleaning.
Last week I organized and sorted through two months of papers that had piled up on my desk. It felt GREAT! Take some time during the last couple weeks of work to organize your files, clean off (and backup!) your flash drives. Organize the materials you've been using this school year, and maybe consider getting rid of ones you haven't been using lately. Tidying up the work spaces and materials we use also helps clean up the clutter in our minds.
5) Reflect on the year you've had.
Think about some of the positives that you've experienced this year. Were you able to dismiss any students from therapy? Great! Did that 2nd grade student finally produce vocalic /r/ after months or years of practice? Celebrate those successes! Also, be sure to identify any ways you'd like to improve next year. Set professional and personal goals that you'd like to accomplish. Strive to grow and build upon your practice.
Finally, some lessons learned from movies to help get you through:
Self-explanatory. Applicable to so many situations.
Didn't the school year just start like, um, 20 minutes ago? Think about all you've accomplished this school year. Countless meetings, dozens of IEPs written, too many evaluations, thousands of minutes spent helping our students improve their communication skills, times you helped a parent see what their child can do. It's easy to get caught up in the mundane aspects of our jobs and become weighed down by everything that needs to get done. Take time during your last couple weeks of school to look around at all you've accomplished during the past nine months.
Soon, summer break will be here. You will be able to do whatever your pretty little heart desires. Want to read by the pool all afternoon? "As you wish." Sleep until 10:30? Go for it. Midnight showing of the latest summer blockbuster? I'll meet you there. We've been dedicated to our job for nine months, put in countless hours of work on our own time, and spent our personal money buying materials and supplies for our students. We've earned summer break. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Just make it through these last couple weeks and you will finally have some free time to enjoy as you wish.
Abby has 12 work days left until summer break!