Clinical achievement unlocked!

One of my students is very difficult to work with because of his low frustration tolerance. A lot of my group sessions with him have been unproductive with him keeping his head on the table and refusing to participate. Earlier this week I took the chance to speak with the speech pathologist who worked with him last year. She explained to make lessons into games rather than pure instruction in order to reel him in and make him excited about the topic.

For my group session with him today I tried to be as mellow with him as possible and to keep activities engaging but simple.  It all worked! He just put his head down briefly and covered his eyes for the start of the lesson, but he eventually stopped hiding and participated. He did so well that I awarded him the max number of stickers that a student can earn for doing “outstanding” work. I was relieved and happy that he got something out of the lesson. I look forward to workong with him more now that I know how to approach him!

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Grasping a clinical placement

Today was my most successful day at my school placement thus far. The sessions were far from perfect, as I’m still learning how to balance behavior management, data collection, and structure within sessions. On top of that, I’m trying to remember to build relationships with my students. It’s a lot to keep in mind during a half hour session! Despite my stumbles today, I was comfortable in my sessions thanks to spending plenty of time the couple of days before thinking through the sessions and finding the materials beforehand. It was the most I had spent on planning an entire school day up to this point. Being able to manage the sessions today without my supervisor and without getting frustrated and stuck within a session was a good ego boost in my clinical training. I give myself a HUGE pat on the back!

Sharing the joy of baking

20150131_133637Baking is a great stress relief for me. It’s also been a great way for me to connect with friends and classmates by inviting them to bake with me or by sharing the baked product with them.

Last week I finally fulfilled my desire to bake banana bread, my favorite treat to make. I already had plenty of sweets at home from my birthday, so I decided to bring a container of the bread along with me when I headed to campus for meetings. After situating myself in the main room in the Speech Pathology department, I offered the bread to a couple of faculty members. Upon my return to the room from a meeting, I found the note above from the Senior Program Assistant. It made me smile to know my bread had been enjoyed. I continued to receive compliments from other classmates and a professor as they passed through and grabbed a piece.

I’m usually someone who keeps to myself and haven’t been as proactive in outreach as I had been in undergrad. Baking has become my main way of reaching out to others and forming relationships with them without putting too much effort. Actions sometimes do truly speak louder than words in a conversation when developing relationships with classmates and colleagues.

Claiming a Mentor

I met with one of the graduate clinical faculty to discuss how to prepare for transitioning to a new supervisor in my school placement and for some personal advice. As in the phonology lab I participated in this semester, she provided helpful and valuable insight and advice. I had come into the meeting a little nervous because I wanted to discuss how to problem-solve in managing my anxiety for next semester. Her calm demeanor and manner of delivering her messages made me feel comfortable in trusting and discussing the issue with her. She sympathized with me, supported me in my decision for how I wanted to lighten my load next semester, and provided advice for how to handle stress.

Throughout my academic career, people have emphasized the importance of finding a mentor. This semester I started realizing the importance of having someone to turn to for professional advice and wanted to set out to find someone. At first the task seemed daunting, since I wasn’t close to any professors and am not one to pop into office hours. I had not interacted with the faculty member I spoke to today during previous semesters, but I got a good impression of her when she supervised one of my sessions earlier this semester and offered to sit down with me to share constructive advice about my performance. The fact that she was willing to talk with me today and that she offered support and asked me to keep her updated with how I was doing made me realize that I had found someone to be my mentor.

Flexibility is a virtue

The phrase above is often used at my work as a tutor with ELL students, but I’ve found that it is also applicable to graduate school. The saying proved true today when one professor provided a later deadline for an upcoming paper and another offered an alternate date for the course final. I was personally thrilled for the changes because it freed up my weekend to watch a friend complete her black belt test. If only I can keep myself from procrastinating my work given the new dates!

A congratulatory dessert

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A sweet, sweet friend surprised me today with a cake made of my favorite combination of ingredients (PB and chocolate) to celebrate wrapping up with my first client. Not only did it give me a chance to actually celebrate being done with my clinical work for the semester, it also reminded me what an accomplishment it was to have managed working with my client for 10 weeks. Thank you!