Last week Helen wrote about some of the funny things that can happen when you are a speech therapist. You can read that post here. Whilst we were discussing last week’s post we also thought about some of the other ways our job impacts us as people.
Now, I just want to make it clear that I LOVE my job. No two days are the same and I really enjoy helping people. You can never predict what a child is going to say which always keeps you on your toes and makes you laugh. However there are also times when you’re stressed and finding things tricky.
- Turning off from work. I find it hard to stop thinking about work – that report that needs writing, if I am ready for the next day’s therapy, what I am going to say in the meeting. This is partly because I choose to pick my son up from school and then finish my work in the evening, however it is also the job. When you are helping someone’s child it’s hard to just turn it off. I often plan or replay conversations in my head and yes, I have woken up in the middle of the night remembering something I needed to do for a child!
- Making people feel awkward. As Helen mentioned you often end up discussing your job when you meet new people and this is normally fine. However, sometimes I am aware that it can make people feel uncomfortable. I have spoken to adult who have a stammer and mentioning my job can make their speech worse as they think I am listening or judging.
- Effort. To truly engage with a child takes a large amount of effort. We are listening, watching, predicting, choosing words, translating and planning – all the time. This can get tiring, especially when you are working with 7 or 8 children a day. This is also not including the days when you are working with younger children and running around playing chasing games or throwing balls. Let alone the paperwork and emails. I often worry that by the time I get home I am not putting enough effort into my family.
- Fine line between helping and interfering. There are a number of grey areas when we are talking about our jobs or are asked opinions on children we haven’t met. Fundamentally we all want to help, but sometimes you need to remember to pull back.
- Making me better. The longer I do this job and the more people I meet, I hope I become more tolerant and patient. I greatly enjoy learning new skills and love the challenge of working out how best to help a child. Just because a particular method helped one child, doesn’t necessarily mean it will help the next. I believe that delivering good therapy is a skill that needs to be practised and refined.
Do any of these ring true for you or are there any other ways your job impacts on your life?