Please give a warm welcome to Meredith from The Peachie Speechie, who is presenting the latest installment in the "Stepping Outside Your SLP Comfort Zone" series!
I am used to being the only SLP in my building. I have my own little room and my own organization system and my own way of doing things. So when I agreed to supervise an intern last spring, I was definitely stepping outside of my comfort zone. In addition to taking on the responsibilities of supervising a student, I would have to get used to having someone with me all of the time. Someone that would be counting on me for an important learning experience. Would I be a good mentor? Would I be able to manage it all? It turns out that YES, I was able to manage it all and it was a fantastic experience. Now that it is over, I am happy to be writing this guest post for Natalie’s blog about it!
I always say, when you don’t know where to start - make a binder! So, I started by making my intern a binder. I downloaded an SLP Student Teaching product from Carissa Ten Hoeve on Teachers Pay Teachers and put that along with a few basic information sheets about my county and my student schedule in a three-ring binder. When I met my intern, I gave her the binder and throughout the semester, she added things to it. By the end of the internship, she had a binder full of lesson plans, data sheets, norms charts and evaluation report examples to take with her. If you are considering taking an intern next year, I definitely recommend starting with a binder!
One of the most important things I learned was not to be too rigid with the planning/schedule. I had originally planned on having my intern observe me for two weeks before taking on students by herself. I quickly realized that that was completely unnecessary! She naturally jumped in and started working with students on day one. By day three, she was independently leading sessions while I observed her. It is important to be flexible and move at a pace that works for your individual intern.
Another thing I learned is to be open to new ideas. I found that supervising an intern was a great learning opportunity for both of us! My intern introduced me to techniques and ideas that I might not have tried on my own. It was wonderful to have another clinician to plan with and talk to. We often worked as a team, I was grateful for her fresh perspective on things.
Now that the semester is over, I am left with such gratitude for the experience I had with my wonderful intern! I am so glad that I tried something new and stepped outside of my comfort zone. My intern ended up taking a job with my county, so I am happy that I can now call her a coworker and friend.
- Meredith Avren, M. Ed, CCC-SLP