Here’s the thing about being a School SLP: You have to be able to get along with people. A bunch of people: The faculty, the administration, the office staff, the custodial staff, the support staff, other SLPs in your district, not to mention parents and outside SLPs/OTs/PTs/doctors your students may be seeing. Get the point? It's sooo important to have a good working relationship with everybody.
Does that mean you won't ever make anyone upset or that there will never be anyone who upsets you? Absolutely not. (Especially at the end of the year when tensions are high and we just want summer break, for crying out loud!) How do you make it work? Here are my top 5 suggestions to making relationships work with everybody in the school:
1) Be friendly. Smile a little, say "hi", ask how the kids are, etc. You get the idea. Show a real interest in them.
2) Ask them questions. We all want to feel valued. Asking them a question that you're not 100% sure about will let them know that you value them.
3) Be a part of the team. Show up for those assemblies. Sign up to work basketball games. Don't grumble about bus/car duty (at least not to the staff!). Let the staff see that you're one of them.
4) Eat lunch with the teachers. Get out of your room during your lunchtime and mingle. I know that sounds really simple, and, it is. One of my schools finally has the space for the teachers to meet in a common area for lunch; before, everyone was eating in groups in classrooms. It's so nice to be able to get out of the classrooms for 30 minutes & sit down with other staff members. Sometimes we vent, sometimes we collaborate, other times we just laugh and talk.
5) Bake. I have a custodian who helped me out one winter when I had no heat. He braved the cold and went on the roof to see what was going on. He also called the district's maintenance people to come out and fix it. When they didn't fix it the first time, he made them come out again. So I baked him brownies. It turns out that he doesn't have anyone to bake for him, so getting some homemade brownies was really special to him.
As I said in #4, I know these are really simple things to do. It doesn't take much to build those relationships with the staff...all of the staff. You'll enjoy going to work a lot more, too!
If you're an SLP Blogger, we'd love to have you share how you make relationships work in your workplace. You don't have to be a blogger...you can link up through Facebook!