Taking time off is essential, but sometimes, taking that time creates more work. In order to enjoy your time away and ensure your students are progressing as necessary, here are a few tips for creating session plans that will have your subs jumping for joy (or at least volunteering to cover for you again).
- In teletherapy, it’s so important for your sub to know who is facilitating the sessions. Be sure to provide the facilitator(s) name, email, and phone number so they can get in contact with them quickly to get sessions started on time.
- Student’s full name and minutes of services
- Knowing your students full name will also help them easily document student services if that district participates in a medicaid billing platform.
- It’s important for your sub to know how many minutes each student receives services. In my experience at the secondary level, I’ve worked with 2-3 students in the same session that have different minutes. For example, Johnny may receive 40 minutes of language services while Mary receives 20 minutes of articulation services. Make sure that is clearly stated on your schedule so your sub can easily meet student minutes as well as send students back to class when needed.
Give choices and be specific, but don’t feel like you have to plan out everything.
- One of speech-language pathologists' greatest superpowers is being able to think on their feet; however, merely labeling a student as articulation or language doesn’t provide enough information when a sub is trying to pull activities from their toolbox quickly. Let your sub know exactly what your student is working on. Instead of articulation, list a specific, yet brief target (i.e.“Johnny - /r/ at the sentence level, Suzy - topic maintenance and turn-taking in conversation, Paul - /s/ in conversation”).
- Second, give your sub some choices. By choices, I’m referring to multiple goal options. For example, if Suzy is working on social communication and articulation, list her specific targets and goals. Your sub is not going to have time to target all goals, but at least he or she will have some options for choosing the most appropriate activities for a group or individual student.
- While your “session plans” may be called this, it’s actually a schedule for your sub. SLPs are rockstars at being able to “plan” and pull activities to target multiple goals on a whim, so don’t feel like you have to plan out each activity for every session. The most important information your sub needs is what your students are working on. They’ll be able to take over from there.
Tips and Tricks
- Have a student that hates coming to speech or has specific behavior needs? Provide your sub with some tips for keeping students motivated and engaged, whether it’s talking about sports, looking at pictures of a favorite cartoon character, or playing a game of checkers. Copying and pasting a direct link to student’s favorite websites is also extremely helpful for your sub when they are preparing activities for coverage.
- Lastly, when you are getting emergency coverage and are needing to get this information to a sub quickly, it’s extremely helpful to have your schedule saved digitally (i.e. Google Drive) in a spot that you can remember. Personally, I have created a schedule for every day of the week in an easy to find folder on my Google Drive; however, you could make one schedule for the entire week if that works best for you. By doing this, I can easily “share” my file with the sub who is providing coverage for that day, or email the schedule quickly.
Still not sure where to start with creating an easy, efficient, and organized scheduled? Here’s an example of my personal // Sub Plans Template
It's so helpful to take time now to create these plans so you don't have to scramble if you need a last-minute sub. Happy planning!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hannah Scotten M.S. CCC-SLP is a former “brick-and-mortar” school speech-language pathologist turned full-time teletherapist for DotCom Therapy. She enjoys the work-life-balance of telecommuting from the comfort of her home office and is passionate about providing quality services to her students. Hannah enjoys spending every ounce of spare time with her hubby [and high-school sweetheart], Derik; rambunctious 18-month-old son, Tripp; and furbabies, Mac and Yadi.
Interested in working as a teletherapist for DotCom Therapy? We have many opportunities from full-time to PRN. Check them out!