A day in the life of an SLP (during a pandemic): Wow, what a crazy YEAR it has been. Working as a school SLP during a pandemic has tested me in so many ways, and my “day in the life” has changed constantly. We’ve gone from fully remote, to hybrid, to in-person. I decided I would share my experience – and what a typical day is like for me- as an SLP during a pandemic.
March 2020: The Schools Close
Let me backtrack for just a moment.
I’ll never forget last March. I was in the middle of a busy day of IEP meetings at the elementary school I work at when I heard the news: Gov DeWine was shutting down all of the schools in Ohio for three weeks.
No one knew what that meant exactly, but it was pure chaos. We needed to get “homework packets” together before the students left for the day. Mind you, I had about 7 IEP meetings I was supposed to attending, plus- my students all have individualized goals. How on EARTH was I going to pull this off?
I printed out articulation carryover calendars and language carryover calendars, and ran through the building in a mad rush trying to distribute them at the end of the day. I ended up having to mail some packets home the following week- I just didn’t have time to get everything together by the time the dismissal bell rang.
Spring 2020: Teletherapy and Working From Home
I spent the spring of 2020 feeling guilty for being overwhelmed- I was trying to learn how to do teletherapy, trying to contact all of my students, and trying to work from home with a baby and a preschooler.
Working from home meant virtual staff meetings while at the same time dealing with potty breaks and diaper explosions.
Working from home meant trying to pre-record video lessons for my students as my dog decided to come in the room and barf on the carpet.
I was losing it, working from home.
I felt guilty complaining about being overwhelmed because my family was healthy.
I felt overwhelmed because it’s hard to be an SLP and a mom at the exact same time.
I wondered if I would be able to keep doing both jobs at once: mom and SLP.
I was so, so glad when the school year finally came to an end.
Fall 2020: More Teletherapy
I was on the edge all summer.
Would I have to do more teletherapy? Would my school open? Would my son be able to go to school? Would I have to quit my job?
Initially, my school district planned to open under “Plan A”- meaning, full-time in-person- but that changed.
I started the school year completely virtual.
That meant staring at a screen for 10-13 Google Meets a day- and that was just for therapy.
IEP meetings were ALSO conducted as Google Meets, and as SLPs know, we have plenty of those. OH, and staff meetings, too.
My day was spent alone in my room, staring at a computer screen.
I started dreading going to work.
I couldn’t sleep.
I started getting migraines.
I ended up having to buy blue light glasses, which helped.
My district bought the SLPs Osmos, so we could use them as document cameras during therapy.
But I was still miserable.
Hybrid Plan- October 2020
I was so, so excited when I found out my district was transitioning to a hybrid plan in October.
By then, I’d been on a desperate search for a mask that didn’t fog when I talked. I finally found one- here’s the link, if you’re still searching. Yes, I know you can rub Dawn or hand sanitzer on clear face masks, but I’d prefer not too. I wanted something that worked without all that extra effort.
I actually decided to create a Speech Therapy YouTube video “documenting” my day in the life of an slp during a typical “hybrid” day.
It involved a crazy balancing act of juggling constant schedule changes, trying to fit all of my kids onto my schedule in the two days they were in the building, going back and forth between teletherapy sessions and in-person sessions… ahhh!
By March, we finally switched back to full-time, in person school- “plan A”. Good thing, because I was running out of scheduling options for my new referrals!
The school year is coming to an end soon, and what a wild ride it’s been.
Karen @ The Pedi Speechie