3 Tips for Collaborating with Service Providers

When the school day feels like it has lasted 12 million years and nothing has gone right, who do you depend on? The other educators in your building who just get it; your service providers. Grade level teachers have their team, and we have ours. Working closely with your speech pathologist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist isn’t just something that benefits your student’s success. You need to go into the school year feeling like you have colleagues that have your back and know you want to have theirs. Here are three tips on how to nurture those relationships. 

1.) Friendship First


Getting to know the service providers on your team is a must. I totally understand that this is easier said than done, especially with the lack of free time that educators have. When teachers (sadly) report back from summer break, your days are jam packed with room prep and professional development. How could there possibly be time to sit in each other’s classrooms and gab about your summer vacations and favorite hobbies? Take advantage of the few days you have without students and eat lunch together or grab a coffee after the work day is through. Small initiatives such as this will allow your relationship to be more than a working one. Having someone to laugh with, vent to and simply understand is truly a life saver.

2. Plan Time Together


If you thought the first bullet point sounded impossible, then you are without a doubt laughing in my face after reading number two. However, hear me out. As someone who is slowly understanding the importance of prioritizing yourself in the workplace, this is something all educators should do more of as they enter a new school year. As you create your classroom schedules and prepare for the upcoming year, find time to regularly meet with your team, put this on your calendar, and stick to it. I challenge you to hold yourself accountable to team meetings and independent plan time that you are (legally) entitled to. Your students will only benefit from you spending time collaborating with your service providers, so make a plan and stick to it the best you can. Plus, when you collaborate you get to do fun projects like you see to the left (shoutout OT)! 

3. Collaborate on Assessments


Creating IEP goals is a collaborative effort. Being able to talk through a student’s strengths and needs with your team is a must. You can do this by utilizing assessment tools that collect input from the entire team. If you don’t currently use the VB-MAPP within your classrooms, I’m sure by the time you get through recent TAH blogs, you’ll be convinced to add it to your repertoire. My program uses the VB-MAPP and I love it. This tool is something that creates a cohesive and effortless way to be on the same page with your teammates. Check out TAH VB-MAPP tool kit here!


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