A Spotlight on SLP
I did not expect so many Speech Language Pathologists to be so psyched to talk with me about their experience providing services to ESL students. But I learned two things from this episode that are worth another look; definitely a cause for another episode in the future.
The first thing I learned is that we don't know much about each other. Every SLP I talked to still have very little idea what an ESL teacher does. So when it comes to time to recommending (or not) services for a student, we may miss out on giving needed services because of the misguided idea that they will be "double dipping." So, we learned in the episode that we are not mutually exclusive. To be clear, we do both deal with language. But ESL teachers teach language with their culture in mind, being sure to explain concepts and linguistic features with a students' history in the forefront. Speech teachers, on the other hand, focus more on language production. Our lack of understanding of each other is a detriment to providing necessary services. I can only hope our administrators are clear on our differences and similarities.
The second thing I learned is ESL teachers suffer detriment due to our lack of understanding of our differences because it wastes time. So often we assume it's just us to meet these students' needs and when it comes to language, it's up to us. The very reason I made these episodes ("Who you gonna call? Part I & II") is so that ESL teachers will recognize a time to share the load when necessary. We DO have people in the school that can help with ESL need and even if a student does not qualify for services, SLP materials are invaluable. Sometimes I mirror the sometime ferocious nature of our students, like an animal backed into a corner and I become extremely defensive of them: they are mine to defend, no one else can understand them like I do. Hear me: do not stand alone. It is not helpful. Time to learn the full gambit of aid at your district, no matter how small.