On many social media platforms, I often see posts about how school-based SLPs are not teachers. I would have to agree to a certain extent. However, I don’t see how school-based SLPs can constantly rant about it, but also reap the benefits of being called a “teacher”. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, or can you?
So, for fun, I asked some SLP buddies their opinions. Here are some of their stories.
**These SLPs have chosen to remain anonymous.**
My friend Meredith (Peachie Speechie) was nominated for “Teacher of the Year” last year. She was honored. While she knows she is a Speech-Language Pathologist, she also knows she works in a school and was honored that her colleagues felt her worthy of being nominated for such an amazing award. Something to keep in the back of your mind when you say, “I am NOT a teacher.”
Merriam-Webster defines TEACHER: A person or thing that teaches something; especially a person whose job is to teach students about certain subjects.
Do we, as SLPs, do this? I would have to say YES. I teach my students specifically about articulation and language. If we want to get more specific, I teach about vocabulary, grammar, figurative language, social language skills, and comprehension (and so much more).
I know my kids see me as teaching them something specific. Can I fault them for referring to me as the “speech teacher”?
Merriam-Webster defines THERAPIST: A person specializing in therapy; especially one trained in methods of treatment and rehabilitation other than the use of drugs or surgery.
Do we, as SLPs, do this? I would say ABSOLUTELY!
Merriam-Webster does not have Speech Pathologist in the dictionary. But, if we break it down.
Merriam-Webster does define SPEECH THERAPIST: a person specifically trained in speech therapy.
Is this us? YES. Is this definition all encompassing of what we do? Absolutely not.
But, we are EXPERTS.
We have the knowledge and expertise related to language underpinnings.
- We KNOW communication.
- We KNOW literacy.
- We KNOW language.
- We KNOW comprehension.
- We KNOW vocabulary.
- We KNOW social language.
- We KNOW articulation.
- We KNOW voice.
- We KNOW fluency.
But, what we need to remember is that we make a choice as SLPs to work in the school system in which the primary focus is education, making therapy educationally relevant, and helping children to be college and career ready.
While you may not consider yourself a teacher, I do.
- I am a teacher.
- I am a mentor.
- I am a collaborator.
- I am a team member.
- I am a THERAPIST.
I am so many things. So much more than the definition of one word.