Looking back at my years of working as a school-based speech-language pathologist, many individuals have influenced my professional growth. They were friends, administrators, and colleagues. If you are just starting out, changing jobs, or feeling in a “slump” – reach out to someone you respect – a mentor/ mentee relationship might be just what you need!
This is my 5th year mentoring speech-language pathologists who are completing their clinical fellowship year, and I think I have learned more from this experience than they have. I will be honest – these clinical fellows are light years beyond where I was when I graduated 16 years ago. Their knowledge base and level of professionalism often has me simply nodding my head, saying “Yes, of course!” when secretly I’m taking mental notes for my own practice.
At the same time, what amazes me is their willingness to be vulnerable, and to accept challenges with intelligent optimism. We are a contract company, so these brave souls agreed to work for us, even when we couldn’t guarantee where they would be placed. They have all hit the ground running, smiling through meetings, using sudoku-like methods to develop treatment schedules (that – incredibly – don’t interfere with reading blocks, library, PE, or resource time), and running groups for stuttering, articulation, language, and social skills, maybe all at the same time!
Now that it’s October, our clinical fellows are settling into their schools. They are seeing kids, problem solving with teachers, and consulting with parents. A wonderful piece of mentoring is being able to collaborate, and being a part of that important first year in the “real world.” I can only imagine where they will be once they have all have their CCC’s – it’s going to be a great year.