Thursday, October 2, 2014

Grateful to a Teacher

  “If all my possessions were taken from me with one exception, I would choose to keep the power of communication, for by it I would soon regain all the rest."
                                                                         Daniel Webster

A poster containing this quote was hanging on the wall in my fourth grade classroom when I was a student. It meant nothing to me during those first few months. I looked at it each day as it was hanging over the blackboard (Yes, I had blackboards in school!) but never understood it. Then, in February, Mrs. Cowen began to read the story of Helen Keller to our class during a novel study. She pointed out the quote by Daniel Webster, which by this point I had memorized, and asked each of us to imagine what it would be like not to be able to communicate a thought or a need.  We role-played different scenarios where our intended message was not comprehended by the listener and vice versa. I was fascinated and knew from then on what career path I wanted to explore. Years later, I am still just as fascinated with the field today as I was when I was nine years old.

Speech/language pathologists without a doubt have the BEST job at school. We work with students of all ages. My students range in age from 3 to 15 years and have a variety of speech/language challenges including articulation, phonological difficulties, language disorders/delays, fluency, and voice disorders. We play games, talk, laugh, learn, and work hard. Most people think a speech/language pathologist’s job involves helping students produce speech sounds correctly. However, that is only a small part of our job. We teach students to listen attentively to speech instruction; follow directions; build vocabulary skills; make inferences from what they hear and read; teach them to ask questions by breaking down subject matter; and further develop linguistic concepts. Students are taught how to initiate a conversation, expand on a topic, and how to change topics in a conversation so that they can improve social and pragmatic language skills.  Learning such

Language is the basis for almost all forms of academic learning. Without a solid language base, gaps in learning and achievement become more apparent. Speech/Language pathologists help fill those gaps.  It is an awesome responsibility, and one that I have embraced throughout my career. Thank you, Mrs. Cowen, for this wonderful gift!
Learning spatial concepts.

Learning the present progressive tense and personal pronouns.

Learning new vocabulary can be fun!

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