Stepping Outside Your SLP Comfort Zone: Taking on a Student

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


  1. Believe it or not, I am starting my 33rd year as an SLP and have NEVER had an intern. I have had students observe during practicums, but no student teachers or CFs! Crazy right? There is only one school in NH with an SLP major and they place their students in the southern part of the state.

  2. I am so glad Meredith shared her intern story! I work with them both and wholeheartedly agree that she did an amazing job (and so glad our intern is now one of our new county SLPs)!

  3. As a recent graduate I must say - you sound like an awesome supervisor! I wish I had a supervisor like you when I was a student. It'll be a few years before I'll have enough experience/confidence to take an intern, but I think being able to give back is an amazing experience.


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