What to Expect When You're A First Year School SLP!



Let me be the first to tell you- the first year will probably not be your easiest year. When I first wrote this post, I couldn't promise you this because I hadn't yet to even start my second year as a school SLP. However, having been in the field for a few years now, I am certainly breathing a sigh of relief that the additional work that comes along with the first year is now officially behind me.


Here is an outline of what to expect during your first year as an SLP.


1. You must complete your Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY)

This will likely be your biggest concern during your first year. You're required to have 36 hours of mentoring by an ASHA certified SLP and you are rated based on your performance. This is a type of evaluation system to ensure workplace competency. To be honest, it almost feels like a grad school observation except you should be much more confident in your abilities by this point. Once this is completed, you will get your CCCs and become an ASHA certified SLP! There are some great CFY binders available on Teachers Pay Teachers.

2. Teacher Internship Programs



As if your CFY mentoring isn't enough, your state may also require you to complete a Teacher Internship year. When I graduated, I had to complete this on top of my CFY. Teacher certification has since been removed from the requirements of being a school SLP. 

In Kentucky, you must create and reflect upon the lesson plans for each observation, as well as create a leadership project, a collaboration project, a professional growth tracker, work plan, and an instructional unit. Oh, don't forget the 60+ direct consultation hours you are required to have (and log) with your mentoring teacher. You can view a snippet of what this paperwork looks like HERE, but don't be fooled by the 50 page template they show you. Mine is closer to 200 pages. 

The hardest part was finding the time to complete all the paperwork involved with this program. The 2nd hardest part was modifying it to fit the role of the SLP. If you're looking for a GREAT binder to hold all of your paperwork, I recommend the Staples 3 Inch BetterView Binder with D-Rings.

3. You're going to be observed. A lot.

Between your CFY paperwork, possible teacher internship paperwork, and your district's staff evaluation procedures, you'll never be alone. Keep an open door policy and do the best you can. No one expects you to be perfect each and every time you are observed. If you were... what would be the point of all these observations?! Take them for what they are-- a chance to improve on what you're already doing. Advocate your profession to your principal (because they usually do not understand our jobs). A sample of a district SLP evaluation tool can be found HERE.


"Why, hello! Are you here to observe me again? Come on in..."
(Photo from Matt & Molly

4. You will not have all the materials, decorations, and organization you want.

My room, albeit small, is the room I hope to stay in (5 year update: I have since moved rooms twice). However, there was NO shelving in my room when I first moved in, with the exception of one tall metal cabinet. It held the items that were already in it, but there was not much room for more. I scavenged halls before the beginning of school in order to find some sort of shelving for my room, but the "pickins" were few and far between. 

I ended up with one very short, unfinished, paint stained cabinet from a preschool room and an end-table with wheels. I made them work. I didn't like them, but I made them work. I used my classroom funds wisely and bought a tall Sterilite drawer organizer  and a 10 drawer rolling cart  to keep by my table, as well as a rug to cover up part of the burgundy carpet. I bought some decorations from a teacher supply store (lanterns and owls to hang from the ceiling, and small owls to place throughout the room), and an owl shower curtain to place over my solid glass classroom door to reduce distraction from passerbys. 

The rest I spent on AmazonTPT Super DuperZulily, and thrift stores in order to get materials that I noticed would be useful for my caseload needs.

Me, last day of school. 



4) You will actually have to do SLP work in addition to all this other paperwork ;)

Scary, right?! No, this is the easy part!! This is what you went to school for and this is your passion. This is the part that will carry over in years to come while the CFY and teacher internship business will disappear after year #1. You will create a schedule, group up your caseload, provide therapy services, attend IEP meetings (and schedule them unless you have a SPED secretary like my district), bill Medicaid (if applicable), collaborate with teachers and parents, complete legal paperwork related to SPED services, evaluate and re-evaluate, and you will be LOVED. Trust me. It may not always feel like it, but the children will grow to love you. I've never felt so appreciated by so many little ones before. It's endearing and makes every bit of the job so worth it.


Melt my heart! 

Overall, let me say this. Your first year will be stressful because no one prepared you to be hit with all of this information and all of these programs at once. I made it through my first year will all of this, plus getting married and moving 4 times. If I survived, so can you. Take comfort in knowing that it will only get easier after year #1.

Let me know how you survived your first year! What did you encounter that maybe you were not prepared for? How did you overcome it?

Note: Please know that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

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