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SLP Vs. Teaching

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Hi everyone! I'm currently a Spanish Education major but I'm thinking about going into SLP. I know that a lot of SLPs work in Educational settings, and so it makes me wonder if any of you SLP majors out there thought about going into teaching.

I'm really passionate about Education which is part of the reason why I like SLP. To be honest, I'm a little worried about being in Spanish Education because teaching is extremely tough. I've felt very blessed to have excellent teachers, but I know so many teachers who leave the system after a few despondent years. They go in with so much hope, thinking that they can change the world. But the students are sometimes apathetic, there are behavioral concerns, parents and faculty might not understand or respect what you do, etc....

And my wonderful Spanish teacher who loves her job said that the first five years of teaching were the worst years of her life. High school kids can be rough; I don't blame them though because I know it's a difficult period in life.

I have a desire to help people and I love linguistics, so SLP seems to 'fit' more for me. It seems more personalized, and you're working with smaller children that usually seem pretty enthusiastic and open to creative ideas. I know that the job is rough (paper work, anyone? Plus IEPs, lessons plans, etc), but it seems more attractive than teaching.

Have any of you contemplated Education and then switched SLP? What do you think are some of the pros and cons of both careers?

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I have my teaching degree/certificate but went straight into getting my masters in SLP instead of getting a job. I knew from the get-go that I didn't have what it takes to be a general education teacher. When I student taught I realized that the majority of the time is about classroom management and that many of the students get left behind in normal classes (it seemed almost impossible to individualize every lesson). I also had issues with knowing a broad curriculum-- I wanted a focus. Throughout my undergraduate classes I never felt called to be a teacher and my first week of SLP classes I knew that it was the right fit for me. I love that as a speech therapist I can plan individual or small group activities and focus in on specific problems. I like the idea of having flexibility of working in a variety of settings.

Pros of being a SLP: flexibility, individualized planning, focused attention, less students, typically more support from parents, working with a variety of ages, progress is easily seen (for the most part)

Pros of being a teacher: the special bond that forms (you really get to know your students like they are your own kids), a lot of support within the school (many other general teachers but you are usually the only SLP at the school), able to introduce a variety of activities/subjects

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Thanks so much for your reply!

I'm thinking about switching out of my Education major, even though I do that with an incredible amount of guilt. I was really inspired to go into Education, but the more that I think about it, I can't imagine myself in front of a rowdy group of thirty high schoolers. Classroom management has always made me feel apprehensive. And like you said, teachers are expected to "individualize" a lesson for thirty kids at the same time. Teachers are expected to do so much, and plus, politics seem to get involved more with teachers than SLPs. For example, one teacher "coincidentally" got written up when she *dared* to give a school board member's kid the grade that she deserved. 0_0

Being able to teach a couple kids at a time seems great :) And if you get burned out, it seems like there are other settings where you kind find a job (hospitals, nursing homes, etc.). With teaching, you're kind of stuck.

Also, I see that you got accepted to the U. of Washington. Congrats! Is that in-state for you? Are colleges willing to give such large scholarships to out-of-state residents?

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  • 1 month later...

I am also trying to transition from being a special education teacher to slp. I love my students, but so much politics concerning the district, budget constraints involving general vs. special education teachers, and dealing with lying parents has pushed me over the edge. From what I've observed (having worked with slp's in a school setting), slp's still have to attend a lot of meetings and write reports (lots of paperwork!), but honestly, I think for my own sanity's sake I would be a lot happier going to work if I didn't have to do the job of 5 people. Being a special education teacher involves not only teaching but also being an ABA therapist, social worker, paraprofessional manager, case manager, paperwork junky, and sometimes parent. SLP as a career seems much more sustainable. Therapists I've worked with manage their own schedule, working with students individually or small groups in sessions of 20-30 minutes. I understand that their schedules and caseloads can get hectic, but most slp's say they're very happy doing what they do - helping the same population of kids but in a different way.

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  • 2 months later...

I have now taught for what will soon be 6 years in public school. Since I teach music, I have taught everything from K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 and have seen both sides of the fence -- teaching general population, and teaching focused, student-selected courses (such as band). I'm getting OUT of formal music education. I'd love to use it as part of my SLP after I finish, perhaps in some form of vocal or speech rehabilitation therapy, but I am one of the many teachers who found another calling WHILE they were in the classroom. I focus a lot of my time on individualized instruction and also in small/ large group settings, and I am tired of 30+ kids in a class. I am tired of constantly being told that what we are doing is NOT good enough by people who have NO CLUE what a teacher actually does. I'm tired of the politics. I see my husband's grandmother work with a therapist in a rehab place, and I see our SLP at school, and I'm feeling a strong calling to go that direction with God-speed. It's a huge change for me, and I'm taking a huge leap of faith, but I am one future-SLP'er that may be back in a public school setting with one-on-one work, and eventually working in a rehab facility. The Lord only knows where we will be!

Many teachers (like Decaf's post above) are feeling burned out and are looking for something more rewarding, a profession that is analyzed and treated differently, and a different type of work atmosphere. I'm one of them for sure!!!

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