Learnings from the Day in the Life of a School-Based SLP Series

Episode 127 February 21, 2023 00:27:48
Learnings from the Day in the Life of a School-Based SLP Series
The Missing Link for SLPs
Learnings from the Day in the Life of a School-Based SLP Series

Feb 21 2023 | 00:27:48

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Show Notes

In this last episode in this Day in the Life of a School Based series, Katie Widestrom-Landgra and Mattie Murrey-Tegels reflect on what they gleaned from the conversations and guests. 

Hear what they expected going into the series, their highlights, what resonated between fields, and why it’s important to talk about the upsides and challenges in the roles of SLPs.

Visit FreshSLP.com/podcast for this episode's show notes, a full audio transcript and more great resources at the intersection of grad school and a successful SLP career.
Not a substitute for a formal SLP education or medical advice for patients/caregivers.
Fresh SLP is in no way affiliated with or representing any university.

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Episode Transcript

The Missing Link for SLPs Podcast Full Transcript Mattie Murrey-Tegels 00:06 Hi, Fresh SLP friends! I hope you've enjoyed this series. This has been the series of a Day in the Life of a School Based SLP. Now, I'm not a school based SLP, and I've invited my friend and partner in podcasting, Katie Widestrom-Landgraf. She has been your host, but this is our final dedicated episode in this series. We started the series and we're going to finish the series together. And we're going to unpack our favorite moments from the series, some of our favorite quotes, some of our a-ha moments, as we go back and look over each and every one of these, I think, 13 or 14 episodes in this series. We are striving to just shed light in our field on what SLPs can do. And so, if you're a med based SLP, and thinking of stepping into the schools, this series is for you. If you're a school based SLP and want to know more about what's out there, this episode series is for you. So, welcome. Enjoy this last dedicated episode of a Day in the Life of a School Based SLP. So, welcome to this episode of the Missing Link for SLPs. I am here, and I'm not going to cry, but this is a very special episode for me – I'm here with Katie Widestrom-Landgraf. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 01:21 Hi, Mattie! Mattie Murrey-Tegels 01:24 It’s you and me again. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 01:26 I have to tell you, it feels a little bittersweet. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 01:29 I know. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 01:30 Mhm. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 01:31 But I'm glad we're doing this because I had a student reach out to me today, and she's like, “I love a Day in the Life of a School Based SLP” because she's one of those graduate students who's like, “I want to work with kids. I want to work in schools. This is what I want to do”. And she's like, “I had no clue about some of these things that happened as a school based SLP”. So, Katie, we are making a difference. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 01:54 Oh, that's so good to hear. At least she has some clues now. I think some days I still don't have a clue, and here we are 21 years later! Mattie Murrey-Tegels 02:03 We could do this again a year down the road – different guests, different questions. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 02:07 That's right. Yes. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 02:09 So, are you ready to start our final episode where we unpack kind of what we just went through? Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 02:16 Yes. Let's do it. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 02:18 Okay. First question. When we – when I first asked you to do this podcast, what did you expect? Now, I asked you to come on as the host because I'm not a school based SLP, and I thought you'd be great and you happen, but what did you expect? Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 02:33 I was thinking that I would run out of things to talk about with people. I was expecting to feel – like I had a pretty good idea already. It turns out I was incorrect. And I just – I could have talked to another dozen SLPs across this country who work in the schools, and I would have kept learning new and different and amazing things about the nuances within our profession in this particular setting. I was going to say, when you first asked me, I wasn't sure because I – I mean, I don't know anything about hosting podcasts, and I wasn't sure if I would do these amazing colleagues service, and I hope that happened. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 03:35 I think you've done a beautiful job – pulling the questions out, and really getting to the heart of the conversations. What surprised me most, and what I guess I was expecting to – because I'm managing it on the back end, right. So, I thought, “well, my headphones will be on. I'll do the intro. I'll do the outro, and then I'll be there for the conversation, and then I'll give you the warning when the time is coming up”. I did not expect to be so involved in the conversations that you had. And I'm like, “Oh, that's so cool. If I had known these things earlier, I might have been a school based SLP”. There's some really cool things about being a school based SLP, and I think that was something that I wasn't expecting. I expected to do the technical part. I love the conversations that you had. I think you did a beautiful job. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 04:31 Thanks, Mattie. Thanks. So, when you're thinking about some of those episodes or those moments that pulled you in, that made you kind of stop everything else that you were doing and focus on these conversations instead, what were some highlights for you? Does anything come to mind? Mattie Murrey-Tegels 04:51 Oh, that's a good question. My favorite highlights were – I believe that I am a heart led med SLP. I love the left brain. I love intensive care. I love swallow studies. I love all of those things. And I also love the fulfillment that I get from helping people that I do. And I so loved it when I heard some of the guests say – I mean, I think every guest said, “I love what I do as a school based SLP”. And I was really happy to have that same thought, that doesn't matter where we are, but we enjoy where we are working in our field and helping who we're working with. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 05:42 Yeah. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 05:42 How about you? What were some highlights for you? Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 05:46 Oh, wow. I know we have a time limit. So, I think I would echo first what you talked about, the love of the work, and that special connection that SLPs have with the students and families they serve and the colleagues that they work with. There was an authenticity that was through every episode. And it was affirming for me to hear so many folks from all different parts of the country, and from all of these different settings, singing from the same songbook. We love this job and continue to do this job for those connections. So, that was pretty great. Some other highlights, there were some really important like golden nuggets of wisdom that would show up in different episodes, that as an SLP who's worked in the schools now for over 20 years, I have thought about for weeks after the episode. And so, I encourage people to spend some time listening to the different episodes and see what is an important takeaway for you. It could be something different if this is not a setting you've ever worked in. For me, I have this small – kind of a list of things in my mind that just stayed with me, and will stay with me long after this podcast is through. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 07:40 Mhm. We did a summary document where we pulled the quotes from all – the primary quotes from all of the guests, and I'm going to go over that in the very next episode, but I just loved – authenticity, I think, was a word you used. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 07:59 Mhm. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 08:00 I mean, it's not all roses and sunshine. We had some real conversations in here, as well. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 08:09 And I appreciated that, because I think maybe a little bit of a fear of mine was that whether we intended to or not, we might paint this particular setting and experience as roses and sunshine because we do love the connection with kids, and the workload can be tremendous, and we sometimes really have to work hard to have boundaries with our time and with our energy. And so, what I think is interesting, is that all of those things can be true, and I appreciated that that came through with this series. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 08:51 And the guests were all, “Yes, these are challenges. And we are doing this to rise above those challenges or make a difference in our field” or they're finding ways to battle those challenges. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 09:10 Mhm. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 09:10 And this episode, I felt, banded us together in some of those challenges. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 09:16 Absolutely. Yeah. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 09:18 Was there anything that surprised you? Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 09:20 I would say there are things that delighted me. And I think one of the things that surprised and delighted me, was that we had so many folks who love this profession so much that they took their work out of their day job and channeled that passion into other activities – TPT stores and creating your own business. I loved hearing from people that had so much passion about a particular practice area, or particular skill set they wanted to help develop with students, or maybe it was a tool that helped with workload efficiencies, and that we have so many amazing colleagues that are willing to share their time and their talents in innovative and creative ways. Wow! That was surprising and delightful. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 10:22 Mhm. It surprised me that I was kind of saddened to hear of the workload, the burnout, the – oh, my gosh, all that school based SLPs are sometimes asked to do. So, sometimes I felt that some of that work that was taking place outside was a necessity, but what a way to make lemonade out of lemons. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 10:52 Yes. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 10:52 There's a lot of creatives out there who were really working to tailor the materials that they were creating for those that they were working with in their day-to-day, school based setting. But I was surprised at the weight that sometimes school based SLPs have to work under. I didn't have as great of an appreciation of that. And I was also really surprised – and this is maybe one of the reasons why I love these conversations – I loved the Venn diagram of – we've got the school based SLP, and the med based SLP. And prior to the episode, for me, the diagram where it met in the middle was a little smaller of a sliver, and through this episode – the series, I've learned we have so much more in common than we have that's not in common. And so, that was a surprise for me. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 11:55 Yes. Yes. So, knowing that our experiences shape how we filter information, what resonated with you as a listener who's currently working in the medical setting? Mattie Murrey-Tegels 12:11 Hmm, good question. Working in a medical setting outpatient peds clinic, I have learned – and I've worked – I've reached out to school based SLPs, and they've reached out to me for my evals. I get their IEPs and things like that. I guess, understanding how much more we really have in common. And that we really are – I mean, of course, we know we're working towards the same goals, the same clients, and everything else like that. But that filter, it just – do you ever play that little game where you've got the little marbles on the top, and the big, big holes, and then you shake it and the marbles just filter all down all the way through those holes until you get the tiniest marbles on the bottom? Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 12:59 Yes. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 13:00 That's kind of what this episode was like for me. I had these big marbles on the top of this is what I do with a pediatric client, a patient and a med based SLP. And all of the things that I learned in this episode was how the school based SLP and the med based SLP, we really can be so much more on the same page than I ever realized. And so, those marbles just filtered right on down through, and I have so much to take away from this. So, same question, let's flip it for you. As a school based SLP, who had the opportunity to engage in these conversations, what resonated with you? Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 13:45 So, there were things that came up time and time again, as I mentioned before. People love the connection they make with students and families and colleagues. There were also some things that came up time and time again that were really challenging – building a schedule as a school based SLP is painful, and it's exhausting, and your ability to maneuver and adapt and to be flexible can really tax the system. And I so appreciated feeling like I was not alone. I would tell folks who are practicing school based SLPs, “If you get nothing else from this series, listen to it to know that there are a whole lot of us who are in the same boat and you have some similar experiences”. I think even when you work in a larger school, there are only a few of you, at most. And oftentimes, you're on your own in a particular building. And what really resonated with me is that, episode after episode, conversation after conversation, I was reminded that I'm not alone, and that was wonderful. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 15:10 Yeah. That's excellent. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 15:16 So, I feel like we did a pretty great job of talking with lots of people, in lots of different settings, with different experiences. But were there topics that you wish we had explored more deeply, if given more time? Mattie Murrey-Tegels 15:35 Yes, yes, yes, yes! Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 15:38 Okay! Mattie Murrey-Tegels 15:40 Yes. I love being a disruptor. I would love to make a difference in this field, whether it's med based, school based, private practice, whatever, and just bring more visibility, more validation, more power, more recognition, more whatever, to those of us who are working in the in the trenches, and have more value to what we do. We are good at what we do, and we make a difference, and I would love to explore more conversations along those lines. And it's wonderful that we do things for the schools. We work with the children we work with for ourselves. And I would like to see some of those conversations go further, deeper, rather than clicking off the podcast recording, and then we go about our day. So, I would love to see where some of these conversations could go a little bit more deeper, and what – how we really could make a change. How about you? Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 16:46 Yeah. I would love to learn more from folks who have been able to create and maintain a work life balance within this setting. And that's – that is selfishly what I would like, because I don't personally always have that. And so, when I would hear guests talking about how they established boundaries, and the things they would put into place within a daily schedule to have some time to recharge before they saw their students in the afternoon, guests who were able to effectively advocate for more manageable workload and caseload. I would have loved to have acquired tools and strategies, almost like this repository of resources, so that when a person is in a situation where something's out of whack, where that work life balance isn't there, they have some go-to options to try to make that situation different, and hopefully better. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 18:12 How could we do that? I love the idea. How could we do that? Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 18:17 That's a great question. I don't know the answer just yet, but I like the idea of it. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 18:21 It's a good idea. I know in a few months we're going to be doing a mental wellness – a mental health series with some SLPs, and we can certainly target some of those discussions there. Burnout is real. Burnout’s and I don't – there's such a need for SLPs. There always will be. And we need to take care of ourselves collectively. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 18:51 Right. Absolutely. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 18:50 So, as we wrap up the series, what are your thoughts about where we've ended up? Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 18:59 I think we're bringing closure to this series in a great place, I think we've had a lot of different perspectives. I don't know if we ever end. I think it creates an opportunity to think about the next place we go – the additional questions we might have. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 19:20 Mhm. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 19:21 What I would love, is if as listeners are processing these different episodes, and as they're hearing from all of our different guests, what are the questions that come up for them? What do they feel would be sort of the wish list of the next places we go with the conversation? I so enjoy the idea of that interaction between our listeners and the series, and having that inform what we do next. So, I guess that phrase ended up that I'm delighted with where we ended up and I also think it creates the inspiration for where we may go next. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 20:07 Mhm. Hearing back from listeners, and other people who come to the Fresh SLP website, or wherever we go and talk. Just having more of those conversations because when those communication exchanges are happening, hopefully growth is happening. That's a good thing. I'm pleased with where we've ended up as well. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 20:29 Mhm. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 20:29 I'm very pleased you did this podcast recording, this series as hosting it, because it's not something I could have done. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 20:37 Thank you. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 20:39 Do you have any words of wisdom, now at the end of the podcast, for somebody stepping into a school based SLP position? Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 20:48 Wow. Okay, that's a little bit of a surprise – because I would ask guests that question fairly frequently! Mattie Murrey-Tegels 20:58 You're my guest. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 21:00 Okay. When you do feel bogged down by the paperwork, or if you feel overwhelmed by the emails, you have to return and the phone calls you have to place to parents, take a moment and remember what you love about what you do. And if you happen to forget, see some kids and you'll remember almost instantly. It has worked every single time in 20-some years. When I start to just feel despondent, and like bummed out, and like, “Oh, another billing, are you kidding me? Oh, I thought I just made a schedule. What? I'm using up erasers because I have to move things around.” When I start to kind of get stuck in the gunk of what's happening, because that's there too, I work with kids and then I remember, “Oh, right! This is why I'm here. This is what we're doing”. If in doubt, see the kids! Mattie Murrey-Tegels 22:16 If in doubt, see the kids. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 22:17 Yeah. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 22:17 One of the funny things I remember, it was before we began recording. You were talking with a guest and the moment the guest came on, the two of you are off and running and laughing about what it's like working in a high school, because you're in high school. And one of the things you said, “Yes, and those kids smell!” So, I guess go find those kids, but don't get too close to them. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 22:40 To be fair, I think that I was saying that middle school SLPs have a harder job than I do in high school because, yeah – I mean, it's not that kids aren’t trying, but there's a lot of systems, and process, and things changing. Yeah, a little rough, sometimes. Yeah. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 23:01 But go look at who – go look at, and go about your remembering “why”. If I would have words of wisdom, it would be to find your joy. And if you've lost your joy, then change. Change something, figure something out. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 23:18 Yes. Yeah. And sometimes your joy isn't lost, sometimes it's just misplaced. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 23:25 Mhm. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 23:23 Yeah. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 23:26 Because it's the same in the med SLP system. They can be long days. They can be hard days. And I love what I do, most of the time. And I also find one bright spot every day. There's something – one highlight of every day. And then when I'm done at the end of my day, I let go. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 23:49 So, Maddie, how do you let go of the day? I know, we kind of segued into your words of wisdom, but I love the idea of putting the day away. How do you let go of the day? Mattie Murrey-Tegels 24:03 Good question. I love being organized. And so, my desk area is organized. And so, at the end of my day, everything is put back in its place. The files are closed. Everything's where it needs to be and prepped for the next day that I'm going to be there. And then I kind of go through this mental shutdown, where all of these things are done. And I have this wonderful – we have this wonderful thing at the hospital where it's like a meditation prayer. And it's like, “I have done my best” because, you know, people die in our setting. “I've done my best. I've given my best, and I let go at the end of the day”. So, I make sure that I'm done. My eyes are dotted, my T's are crossed, and then I discipline my thinking. So, when I walk by that meditation that's on the right side of the doors as I leave, then that's where everything stays and I go out into the car. Usually, I'll call somebody on my way out of the hospital because that is a – it takes me back into my other world. How about you? Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 25:30 Oh, how do I leave the day? Mattie Murrey-Tegels 25:32 Mhm. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 25:33 Hmm. Still working on it. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t! Mattie Murrey-Tegels 25:40 Is it harder as a school based SLP? Do you guys bring more stuff home? Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 25:43 Some days, yes. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 25:46 Mm. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 25:46 But if you listen to the series, you will find that's not always the case. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 25:51 Mhm. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 25:51 So, you can learn from folks who don't always do that too. So, for me personally, sometimes, yes. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 26:01 Mhm. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 26:01 I think, for me, when I don't have all the things crossed off of the to do list, I will say, “It'll be there”. It stays down, and it'll be there. But it doesn't always create the closure that I intend. So, a work in progress. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 26:25 That might be a difference between the two settings. In the med SLP setting, we have to get charts done at the end of the day – charts and charting. Charges and everything, it’s got to be done. Interesting point. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 26:43 Yeah. Oh, Mattie, what do we do? I mean, we just – here we are, 12 episodes? 13 episodes later? Mattie Murrey-Tegels 26:51 I think it was 13. Yep. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 26:54 Yeah. That's a good run. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 26:55 It is. It's a lucky, lucky, lucky run. This has been such a joy. Thank you very, very, very much. Katie Widestrom-Landgraf 27:03 Well, thank you for the opportunity. I so appreciated it. Mattie Murrey-Tegels 27:13 So, that is the end of our Day in the Life of a School Based SLP series. I so hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I have. We've unpacked so many things about what a school based SLP does. But if you have more questions, you have more answers, you want to be a guest on the show – reach out to us at freshslp.com. Find us on Instagram @freshSLP. Yeah – like, follow, subscribe. We are having fun here. If you have any ideas, reach back and let us know, and please share. Have a great day, my Fresh friends!

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