In my imagination, it is the perfect size with good natural light (so that I don't need strip lighting). It has storage cupboards that can be closed and locked to hide distractions, but inside those cupboards are a treasure trove of everything I need for therapy!
I have a desk at the right height , with space for a laptop and paperwork at the same time! Oh yes - and the laptop works, and is connected to a printer and there is paper AND ink in the printer.
It's a happy daydream. But it is a daydream because in a 20 year career I've never had all of those things at one time. Often I've had to work without any of them. No space, light, equipment.
I used to accept it, even joke about it. The SLT in the broom cupboard or copyroom is such a cliché you have to laugh, or you would cry.
And that's just it, I don't think I can laugh about it and make light of it anymore.
Maybe it's my age.
Maybe it's just how I feel right now, but I've reached the point where it isn't funny. It's disrespectful, degrading and it impacts my ability to do a good job.
I have about 20 years of a career behind me and if I'm lucky, another 20 years ahead.
That has brought me to a point where I want to do what I can to take some control of the situation. So lately I've been analysing the factors that make it more or less likely that we will be assigned a “good room''.
These probably vary from job to job but in general I think one of the biggest issues for SLTs is that we are rarely in the one location all week. That means that unlike a classroom teacher or secretary, we can't hold a room by virtue of being in it everyday.
So I'm setting an intention to seek a position with a single base and an assigned team. I don't know that such a position exists in my area so I may need to create it by moving into private practice. At this point I'm open to that possibility
In the meantime, I need to get clear on my non-negotiables. Light, deskspace, equipment.
If I don't have these I can't work. I do no favours to my clients or myself or other SLTS by trying.
What are your non negotiables? Have you successfully advocated for a better work environment? I’d love to hear from you on this!
Interested in more? Here are some other posts you might want to read on this…