Friday, September 25, 2015

Love the School You're With--Adventures in Scheduling and Work Mgmt

We’re in the 3rd week of school and I haven’t heard a single therapist on our staff say that scheduling their students has been such a breeze this year.
Most of us are assigned at least four schools and some folks, like me, have seven.  Some of our PTs have 10+.  I like having lots of schools because I meet lots of teachers and work with students of all ages—from two-year-olds through high school.  I get to go to most buildings several times a week and can start a project with a student or teacher and bring back any needed items later in the week.

However, with freedom comes frustration.  With high schools having ODD/EVEN schedules on ODD/EVEN days, students leaving their general ed classes for LD support, counseling sessions, testing by other staff it’s oftentimes difficult to set a specific time of the week to work in classrooms or other school settings with them.  I plan to go to middle and high schools two partial days each week—one ODD day and one EVEN day—so I can visit them in different classes and see what they need from me.  Going to physical ed and lunch lets me see how they cope with noise and crowded settings, not to mention self-help skills.  Visiting English and Science classes gives me the opportunity to observe how students manage their backpacks, folders, notebooks, pencils, computers and materials used during experiments.  If a student is sensitive to olfactory stimuli, go to Science class on lab day or to the lunchroom on not-having-pizza day and see how they manage.  It helps me know how to work with the students and their teachers on the exact strategies they need for keeping their emotional and sensory equilibrium.

One maxim that helps me when it comes to scheduling is, “Love the One You’re With.”  It’s not really an ancient, wise saying but a bit of a popular song from younger days.  When I’m feeling fragmented during the day at School A because I’m thinking of what I need to do later in the week at Schools E and F I tell myself to “Love the School You’re With.”  I try real hard to do work, material prep and planning for the students at the school my feet are standing in at the time, or the school I’ll be in the next day if I need to let a teacher know I’ll be doing something out of the usual schedule.  It helps me mentally declutter my bouncing thoughts, even though I make notes in my calendar for things I plan to do later in the week.

More scheduling adventures to come.

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