Tuesday, June 18, 2019

10 Ways to be a Professional and Awesome Student Observer

Every person striving to become an SLP will need to complete observation hours.  It is essential to be your best self on these observations, because you are representing your college and your speech-language pathology program.  Additionally, if you make a poor impression, it is not uncommon for the observation site to contact your school and request that future students not be invited back.  The SLP world is minuscule, and the connections you make on these observations may benefit you in your future career.  You want to be your best self!  

Here is how: 

  1. Dress as though you work there (slacks, black pants, no midriffs, no shorts, no sneakers)

  1. Leave your cell phone on silent and in your bag.  Do not check it.  If you’re waiting for an important call, let the SLP know in advance.  If you need to know the time, wear a watch.

  1. Don’t chew gum -it’s distracting

  1. Don’t wear perfume or strongly scented hair product – many special needs students are hyperaware/sensitive to smells

  1. Introduce yourself – don’t assume the SLP knows your name or the school you are from

  1. Prior to beginning your observation, ask the SLP if you should write your questions down during the session and ask at the end, or if she prefers you to ask as the session is being held

  1. Take notes.  Bring a notebook and two pencils with you.

  1. Look interested.  Yes, you are observing to meet a requirement, however there are very limited opportunities in the future for you to see how other professionals conduct their sessions.  Make the most of these hours.

  1. Do not join into the session unless invited.  Do not assume that if the student and SLP are playing a game, that you will also be playing.  Stay slightly back when observing, unless the SLP signals you in.  If the child tries to include you, ask the SLP if you should.  Always follow the SLPs lead.

  1. Thank the SLP in person and also send a thank you email to follow up.  Be sure to get their contact information before leaving.  It is good to leave a strong and positive impression. You never know if this SLP will be able to help you in the future in your job search.

*Bonus – Arrive between 5-10 minutes early.  If you greatly enjoyed your observation, don’t be afraid to ask the SLP if she would be open to you returning to observe again in the future.  Also, don’t be nervous to tell the SLP that you are interested in working in a similar environment in the future, and is it okay for you to send her your resume. 

P.S. - starting to get ready to find a CFY? Make sure to read -> I Applied To 84 Positions Before Landing a CFY

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