Groves said she always knew she wanted to be in a profession that included helping children. In the latter part of her graduate career she had the opportunity to observe other SLPs in settings such as clinics, hospitals and schools. After witnessing firsthand the positive impact speech-language therapy had on another person’s life, she felt affirmed in her direction and narrowed the choice down to the education realm.
“The field of education opened doors for me to hopefully help in shaping who my students become one day and how they perceive the world in general. This is an integral time (pre-kindergarten to second grade) in development of language and social skills and young people need to know how they can become productive members of society. Receptive and expressive language is integrated in every aspect of one’s day. A person needs language to think, process information, read, calculate, problem solve and to learn.”
Groves attributes a large part of her success to her ability to develop strong bonds with her students. She gener-ally has a caseload of about 50 students, but teaches them a few at a time, a few times a week, enhancing her oppor-tunity for one-on-one time.
“All children can learn,” Groves said. “It’s up to me as a teacher to find the learning style of each child and teach accordingly. I think educators need to understand the value of their role in a student’s life. We serve as the sole emotional support for a high percentage of students in education today and we shouldn’t take that role lightly. All of our students come from different backgrounds and have been exposed to different environments prior to en-tering school, so it’s vital to always consider this when teaching.”
In her specialized profession, Groves said parental support is also crucial to the overall process, which fortu-nately is highly valued at Battlefield Primary School. She said the culture allows parents to feel welcomed and part of the school environment.
“As an SLP I look forward to meeting with my student’s parents to discuss academic progress and learn about their child’s specific needs,” Groves said. “I take those opportunities to put important literature and resources into the hands of my parents so they can implement strategies at home. This is the time you want the student to have a positive experience at school to hopefully create a lifelong desire to achieve success and graduate.”
Her greatest reward as the SLP is seeing a student understand and use a concept, skill or strategy for the first time. She loves to hear students carry over polished articulation skills into other settings and it’s exciting for her to observe them actively participating in classroom discussions with confidence.
Regarding her recent award, Groves said she was surprised and very happy when she heard the news.
“I was so honored when I found out,” Groves said. “I was filled with such gratitude that my co-workers would elect me. It was very humbling. I appreciate the opportunity to work every day at such an amazing school filled with wonderful teachers and staff. I learn so much from each one of them”
Groves and her husband Ben and her 15-year-old stepson Logan like to spend their free time watching movies, traveling, fishing, exercising and riding four-wheelers at their farmhouse in Bledsoe County in Tennessee. She and her husband also enjoy riding their Harley Davidson motorcycle when the weather is just right.