This past week was the last week of the academic year for my students. As they move onward and upward in their academic careers, I will remain invested in them. I will wonder about them over the summer, and in the coming years for those who will be attending other schools. I give my students words that mean something to me that apply to them at the close of each year. Here are some of the words I’ve shared with them.
- Put down your technology and play.
This goes for me, too. I love my time online–social media, YouTube, Netflix are all lovely and entertaining. That said, these digital mediums can’t and won’t replace real interactions with others. This summer, in addition to spending time with my friends nearby, I hope to visit those who live elsewhere. I encourage unplugged time during the summer to my students, for them to enjoy their families, their summers, and to simply be children.
- It costs nothing to be kind.
This is said year-round in the speech room. My students know I accept nothing less than kind and respectful behavior in the speech room. I tell them this has to be shared beyond the speech room. This is also for their families, friends, and strangers they’ll meet along their journeys.
- You will accomplish great things, and it will take work, but it will be worth it.
My students are fascinating, wonderful, and promising. I have such belief in their abilities to accomplish whatever they put their minds to. I have told them that becoming a speech pathologist or teacher isn’t easy, but everyone in the school loves their job and loves working with them. Through this I remind them what they love requires hard work, but is always worth it
- Work smart, not hard.
That said, there is no sense in reinventing the wheel. Use the knowledge you’ve already acquired to help you. The strategies you learned with me are just as good in another speech room or classroom as they are in mine. Use what works for you, even if it’s not what works for your friends.
- The worst they can say is no.
A lot of my kids will be trying new things and putting themselves out there. Some will become actors, athletes, academics. Some may become none of these things but forge their own path. I am always behind them one hundred percent, even when they’re not as confident as I am. I remind them the worst thing they can say is no, but in order for them to say no, you must first allow yourself to be brave enough to consider the option of a yes.
- Let them tell you it can’t be done, and prove them wrong.
My students will inevitably find themselves on the receiving end of a few closed doors. I will not have them believing that one negative response means that all responses will be negative. They simply need to find the right outlet for what they’re working towards. If you’re persistent, you can find your way in to what you love.
- Think before you speak.
This goes beyond the wait time I use with them or planning a fluent phrase. I encourage my students to truly listen to everyone around them in all encounters. This way, they can consider all perspectives before deciding on and voicing their own opinions. I hope these words contribute to well-rounded and compassionate.
- You will always be my student, and more than welcome in my speech room.
Everyone who works with children becomes invested in their students. I am fortunate enough to spend years with my students. I remember every student I ever worked with and cherish my memories and time getting to work with them. If I am lucky, my students will come to a point when they no longer need me or my services. Regardless of if they’ll continue to need speech or myself, I hope all of my students know that they are always welcome in my speech room, that I will always support them, and that they ca always come to me if they need support or just a high five.
My challenge is to find a new way to enjoy your summer break. Do you have any plans? How would you change them to try something new? Let me know–I’m always looking for new ideas!
Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!
–Stef the StageSLP