Why I Left My Job as a School Based SLP

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
A picture recently showed up in my Facebook memories of my old classroom cleaned out and empty with the caption that I was 'ready for the next chapter!' I can't believe that it's been 6 years since I left my job as an SLP in the school setting. I've mentioned that I left the schools many times over the years, but I've never really talked about why. I am often asked by graduate students why I chose to work in private therapy and or why my first job was in the schools. There are pros and cons to both job settings, and any job setting to be honest. But I wanted to share my story and why this path is the one I chose.

I graduated with my master's from USF in 2009. Before I even graduated high school I had decided on speech language pathology as my career choice. Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. When a close friend of the family was diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech, his mother invited me to watch his therapy sessions at a local children's hospital. I fell in love with the field. It was still educational and with children but more specialized. I felt that working as an SLP in the schools was the perfect balance of my desire to be a teacher and an SLP.

I started working in the schools immediately after graduation. I was at a local elementary school. I shared an office with another amazing SLP who taught me so much. Things were great. I was loving my holiday breaks and summers off. I was also a big fan of being in the school setting and being able to collaborate with teachers and other professionals on a daily basis.

During my time in the schools I got married and we had our first child, Kenzie. At the time, Kevin was working nights. He was "daddy daycare" all day while I was at work then off to his paying job as soon as I got home until after midnight. I was the one up most of the night with the baby and then off to work in the morning. We were like ships passing in the night, giving high-fives to each other as we passed off the baby. We were both both burning the candle at both ends. Extremely exhausted and resenting each other because we each felt that we were more stressed and working harder than the other. It was time for a change.

During my time in the schools, I also started working for Elodie, another SLP who didn't quite have a a full blown company yet, but she was working on it. I saw a few kids after school for her a few days a week. One day she came over to bring me an evaluation that I needed for the next day and we got to chatting about life. How stressful things were and how I was in need of a change. She offered me to come work with her full time. My immediate response was no. I always wanted to be in the schools, why would I leave? But after a few more sleepless nights and stressful days, I decided to take her up on the offer. It was almost the end of the school year at this point and I gave my resignation. Actually, I gave a leave of absence because I was honestly a little afraid that private practice may not work out. I needed a back up plan. To be completely honest, I was sick to my stomach for weeks. I felt extreme guilt and fear. However, they say if your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough!

It's now been 6 years and I can confidently say I have never looked back or even considered going back to the school setting. The past 6 years have been such a growing and learning experience both personally and professionally. I was the first employee of a company which is now, TheraChoice. Elodie and I have grown TheraChoice into a company with over 20 SLPs and Occupational therapists. And after 5 years of only seeing children in their homes, preschools, and daycares, we just opened a clinic last summer. I love the flexibility of making my own schedule. Being able to rearrange my week so I can go on a field trip with Kenzie or stay home when Kameron is sick. I am able to work with a much smaller caseload because each child is seen one on one. I have made such amazing connections with families. I don't have to attend IEP meetings, do hours of paperwork each week, or be at car duty. That time is spent with my kids and with my family.

We are so lucky to be in a field that has so many options. Schools, homes, hospitals, private practice.... the list goes on. This was definitely the right option for me and my family. And I am so thankful for taking that leap of faith!


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