I know more than I thought I knew
Let me start off by saying I adored this experience. My student was phenomenal, as a person and a therapist. It was my first time supervising a graduate student; I was nervous and insecure about my ability to provide her with a valuable experience. But, I also knew that it wasn’t that long ago that I was in her place, so I felt that I could offer a unique empathy towards the overwhelmingness of externships. I remember so vividly how scary it was and how I felt so under-qualified and imposter-like.
So, I made it my mission to not only teach her things but to grow her confidence while doing it…. and I think I succeeded! An added bonus and unbeknownst to me, I grew my own confidence in the process. In my 3 short years of being an SLP, I have learned way more than I thought and I was able to share it all with her.
I will never stop learning
Which brings me to my next point, I still have so much to learn. I was vulnerable with my graduate student in showing her that I don’t know it all. I am constantly learning new information and that is a good thing – actually, it’s a great thing. When I couldn’t answer her questions, we looked for answers together. I shared with her my most valuable resources for finding evidence and information.
I was also so lucky to learn from her. Watching her do things differently than me was eye-opening at times. Her cueing style was different from mine, and I was excited to add some new tools to my box. She tried new things with my clients which was refreshing to see and helpful in getting out of ‘therapy ruts’.
Above all, I think it’s important that we treat students as colleagues and partners because in a few short months they will graduate and become our colleagues and partners. She taught me things from a fresh, new perspective and I am so thankful for that.
I love my job
Finally, I think I forgot how much I truly love being an SLP. Before the graduate student arrived, I told my friends that I was so excited to have two months where I didn’t really have to do my job. They laughed and said, “That’s gonna drive you crazy!”
Turns out my friends know me better than I gave them credit for. I missed interacting with my kids SO much. I left the room at times or consciously told myself to ‘keep-mouth-shut’ to stop myself from interjecting (& that is SO unlike me, I’m usually content keeping to myself). My goodness, I care for my clients, but I never realized how much I appreciated and enjoyed interacting with them each day. After almost 2 months of supervising instead of treating, it feels so good to be back at it! (I’m sure the burn out will come around again, but hopefully I can hold onto this feeling for awhile…)