As I mentioned a few days ago, I complete my first class on a Continuing Education Unit (CEU) website. It was so exciting! I guess that’s partially because I’m a nerd and enjoy learning. The course I decided to begin with was ” Launching Your School SLP Career With a Great CF Experience” presented by : Jean Blosser, Ed.D., CCC-SLP. Despite the title exclusively stating “school”, she iterates that these same principles can be applied to those in the medical-side of SLP as well. You might have to change a student for a client or recess duty for other responsibilities while she talks, but Jean makes it very clear that you can transfer these ideas to different settings.
Over all, I was thoroughly pleased with the course. Jean was able to delve into some of the key components of having a good CFY experience, particularly dealing with the mentor- mentee relationship. She actually created this seminar to be aimed at both parties, so aspiring/current mentors and future mentees could benefit from the information. I’m glad she did, as this relationship often makes or breaks the CFY. She delves into what could be considered the key parts of this partnership: finding the ideal mentor, important steps/goals for the experience, why the school setting may be challenging, what the mentor can help with, tips for creating and fostering an enriching partnership, communication strategies and benefits of mentoring. All of these are superb points to tackle, some I wouldn’t even have thought of! Jean also includes several examples of students and their mentoring journey, which help bring her lecture to a higher level of connectivity with the person taking the course.
I’ll provide some of the helpful hints she discussed in her seminar:
– Communicating doesn’t require that the mentor always be commenting/ constructively criticizing the mentee. Rather, both can partake in training sessions together and discuss their opinions, or the mentee can teach the mentor the material. They can discuss scenarios and ask for advice on what to do. They can role model or demonstrate an assessment or treatment technique or therapy scenario for discussion…
-Find/provide helpful resources for effective therapy services. The mentor can suggest different media that the mentee can utilize for therapy plans, such as: delivery philosophies, state/federal/local regulations and guidelines, school curriculum, and websites. The mentee can show the mentor some as well, or ask for advice on a source or technique.
– Non-ASHA mentor qualifications. ASHA does lay out the requirements that a student should look for in a mentor, but Jean also lists some additional, creative and insightful “requirements” as well. For example, sharing the same interests or backgrounds may be helpful, especially if the mentee has a specific career goal he/she wishes to achieve. Along the same lines, having similar personality and learning styles will aid the partnership. Willingness to communicate on multiple platforms is also ideal, as well as flexibility, as one form of communication may not always work or schedules may change.
–Mentee responsibilities are also a key aspect of this joint partnership. The mentee must recognize that mentor comments shouldn’t be taken defensively, rather constructively. If the mentee feels that goals aren’t being met, he/she should try to discuss/reconsider previous approaches with the mentor. One item I think that is worth highlighting is the idea that the mentee should write down what the mentor says and paraphrase it when talking to the mentor to make sure it is correct.
There are also several supplemental papers that she included with the course. These are helpful for both mentor and mentee in building an ideal relationship and therapy environment. I know I’ll be keeping them handy for when I head into clincal sessions as a graduate student and when beginning my journey finding a CFY mentor.
I’m very pleased I chose this course, and I’m excited to begin my next one!