Yes, I know it’s not really a great title…but, I think it’ll make sense in a bit.
Like most SLPs I want to acknowledge how hard things can be – and do the happy dance when something goes well. It’s easy to reward the kids (they remind us constantly) but it’s not always as easy to remember to reward ourselves. No, I’m not talking about a cold beverage after work, or a vacation, or anything like that… but every once in a while it’s wonderful to be able to stand up and say:
“Hey world! Look at what happened today! I helped this happen!!!!”
A fellow #SLPeep (@SLPTanya) and her co-workers created a “Wall of Awesome” at their office. Tanya was kind enough to create the SLP Wall of Awesome for the #SLPeeps. It’s a place where SLPs can go and voice their excitement over the progress (however big or small) in a way that only other SLPs can appreciate.
I took this idea one step further and created the “Brag Board” in my office. The Brag Board is a hard-won bulletin board (the custodians had to put it up for me after I rescued it) in my office (next to my sticker charts). The Brag Board is used to give encouragement to those students who are trying really hard and maybe not making as much headway as their peers, or who have mastered a truly difficult sound/concept and need encouragement to generalize it to everyday conversation. I also use it as a way to encourage good behavior for those kids that struggle with self-control. It’s a place where I brag about what my students are accomplishing – and where my students get that self-esteem boost knowing that someone has recognized their hard work.
Now, the kids don’t get a prize or extra sticker or anything like that when their name goes up on the brag board. There’s no extrinsic reward really, other than the “atta-kid.” But I do put up a small printed out certificate with their first name and what they do to receive the award. The certificate stays up for a few days (maybe a week) and then it’s taken down and they get to take it home. I have the award dated and I sign it so they can brag to their parents when they take it home. I’ve found it to be extremely motivating for the kids. The Brag Board is one of the first things the kids look at when they come in the room – not only to see if their name is up on it but to give recognition to their peers. Every time I hear words like “Look, your names up there… you did ____. Awesome! ” it makes me heart proud. Not only am I teaching that tangible rewards aren’t needed – I’m teaching them an awareness of their peers and the work everyone is doing.
Thanks Tanya for the awesome idea! I’d love to hear what you all are doing for your “wall off awesome” this year. In the meantime, be sure to click the link and read what other SLPs have done on the SLP Wall of Awesome.
Until then…Adventure on!