I sometimes wonder if anybody else outside my profession understand the true extent when I say that being a speech therapist is a physically and mentally demanding job. I frown at people who might think that my job is easy or I just play with kids, because that simply isn’t true.
Since it’s a job that focuses on treatment, parents come to us and ask for assistance to help solve a concern that they see in their child. While the concern is common for all when they come to us, which is, to help them communicate better, each child is unique. They have different temperaments, skills and interests and we always have to find various ways on how to teach them better in every season of growth. I have to think of each and every one of them and how to help them in their own unique path of learning.
There are days where I wish it would be over soon–days of meltdowns, pinches, bites, crying or unruly behavior–not because it was tiring, but because I felt like I lost. I lost because my student didn’t like what we did for today, or his meltdowns won over his opportunity to be taught. This, however, isn’t mindset I should have. I should remind myself every day that it isn’t about winning and losing each session, but about how much heart and mind I put into my work.
Those days are meant not only to teach my students but also to teach me. To teach me not just patience but persistence, not to see the “what’s wrongs” but to see more of “who is this for” and “why I am here”.
Because, after those days are over, the brighter days will come. The first sound, first word, first sentence and the first intent to communicate will always be a source of fascination to me, and is worth every tired throat, every aching back, or an exhausted mind at the end of the day.
Lately I have been receiving messages from parents that their students did well on the first grading. It puts a smile on my face (and my heart) that their moms and dads see our contributions as a part of their child’s success. It reminds me that I am making a difference one session at a time, and it reminds me that all my students are worth it.