Personal Reflections

During the beginning of this journey into the world of the teacher librarian this blogger thought she had at least a decent idea of what this role entailed, boy was she wrong! After having observed lessons from a well-established teacher librarian and conducting a few myself, this is the impression I had of the role of the teacher librarian…

  • Read stories to students
  • Facilitate borrowing and returning of resources
  • Teach students how to understand and navigate the dewy-decibel system
  • Assist students, teachers, staff and the school community in locating appropriate resources
  • Add new resources to the library system
  • Facilitate school book fairs
  • Promote reading in the school community
  • Reinforce any areas of learning in the classroom, as specified by the classroom teacher

Now it is clear that while these are some of the aspects of the role of the teacher librarian, the role is far more extensive and complex.

Through personal experience there was some understanding of the relationship between a teacher librarian and a school principal ‘If another teacher was ill, I would be removed from the library and placed on the class in the name of “consistency”, the library was treated as a way to cover teachers RFF and not as a vital component in its own right’ (Cunningham, 2014). However, through investigating for the blog post ‘Principal support for the teacher librarian, what is it? And how to get it?’ it was clear more than ever the impact that a principal can have on the perceived value of the teacher librarian within the school. The investigation reinforced the understanding that a teacher librarian cannot just expect to have the support from the school principal; it is up to the teacher librarian to earn it. They cannot earn support simply by saying what they are doing in the school, although ‘regular communication on the library initiatives, development needs, and collaborative projects helps’ (Australian Library and Information Association [ALIA] & Australian School Library Association [ASLA], 2012; Oberg, 2006). No, they must demonstrate to the principal that they are valuable to the school via demonstrations of leadership from in-service training to staff and collaboration with staff on programs and units of work.

While collaboration seemed to be a vital aspect of any successful school environment, collaboration was always envisioned as being between fellow teachers working within the same stage or the same faculty. The importance of collaboration between teachers and teacher librarians never seemed to be as critical to the success of a school. Not anymore… It is now clear that by ‘combining areas of expertise’ (Todd, 2008, p. 23) the specialised skills that a teacher librarian has, can go a long way to ‘assist in the navigation of this field and help enhance’ (Cunningham, 2014) both programs and their required resources.

As a child born on the cusp of generations X and Y the use of technology to find information is engraved on my brain, no thoughts were ever given to the extent of the impact that technology has on the teacher librarian profession. For it has always been prominent in my world. However, while investigating the importance of “Using evidence-based practice to promote teacher librarian services” for this blog, it was shocking to learn how some are viewing the teacher librarian profession as obsolete. While yes, libraries and therefore teacher librarians must learn to expand beyond the traditional paper text and embrace all that technology has to offer such as ebooks and virtual classrooms; it does not mean that there is no room for the profession in today’s society. In fact, it may be more important than ever!

While information may be available from more sources than ever before, people and students are still going to be faced with the challenge of navigating, as well as understanding these sources and although the development of information processing models in schools should be the ‘responsibility of all staff’ (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2007, p. 10) it is the teacher librarians who often lead staff development on the subject and facilitates school-wide initiatives. The importance of developing information literate students cannot be underestimated ‘Is information literacy just a set of skills?’ yes, yes it is. The mind of this blogger has been well and truly blown over the challenges faced, the opportunities provided to, the responsibilities of and the absolute importance of the teacher librarian to the school community of today. No longer do the day-to-day mechanics of the role of the teacher librarian spring to mind but a complex tapestry of the diverse nature of the role of the teacher librarian.

References.

Australian Library and Information Association & Australian School Library Association. (2012, Dec 10). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved Dec 1, 2013, from Australian School Library Association: http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx

Cunningham, L. (2014, Feb). Forum Posts. Retrieved Feb 10, 2014, from ETL401 201390W D: http://forums.csu.edu.au/perl/forums.pl?task=forums&forum_id=ETL401_201390_W_D_Sub2_forum

NSW Department of Education and Training. (2007). Information skills in the school: engaging learners in constructing knowledge. Retrieved Feb 5, 2014, from Curriculum support: http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/index.htm

Oberg, D. (2006, Feb). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian , 33 (3), pp. 13-18.

Todd, R. J. (2008). The dynamics of classroom teacher and teacher librarian instructional collaborations. Scan , 27 (2), 19-28.

What is wrong with education today?

Meme sent to me on Facebook.

Meme sent to me on Facebook.

What is wrong with education today? and how are you going to fix it?

This is a question that was posed to me by a Baby Boomer family member at Christmas and I admit at first I was caught off guard. Feeling as though it was the beginning of an attack on my chosen profession. But once we started talking, I quickly realised what my answer is. I believe that the problem is…

SOME PEOPLE JUST DON’T CARE!

Gone are the days when a good education was valued and teachers were respected. Last year I was a casual at a number of schools, and thinking back on my time I realise that many of the behavioural or learning challenges that I faced with students came from the students not caring about their learning. They didn’t see the value in education, didn’t see how it was going to benefit them, and therefore why should they bother? Why should they listen to you? What impact could you have in their lives? and it didn’t always just come from the kids.

There are parents out there who, without intending too, started this process. Either through what they have said or not said or done or not done. Somewhere along the line they have given the impression that it is ok for other things to have a higher priority in their life. For example, it is ok to play the xbox/wii/computer/Playstation/tablet rather than do your homework or practice your reading, writing or any other skills that they need to work on; it is ok to not do your homework today, you can just do it tomorrow; or simply not asking at all, it is one thing for your child to be independent, it is another for them to just be left to their own devices.

Then when the reports come around, these parents and students are faced with poor results and society blames the teacher. No one takes a look at the effort was put in. Those students who succeed will always be the ones who put in the effort, who work hard and strive to do better. For those students it is often the parent who has placed value on education, who has instilled within them a respect for their teachers. Therefore, instilling within them with the values that they were given as a chid, as were their parents before them and their parents before them etc

So what am I going to do about it? well I intend to show students the value of education; explain why we are learning what we are learning, why we are doing what we are doing, how will these skills impact their lives in the future. For it is my hope that if the value of an education is increased then so will the education system.

When an idea pops in your head…

Isn’t it funny how random things you come across in everyday life can spark the greatest of ideas? The other day I was doing a little bit of shopping with hubby when I found myself needing to occupy my time while he was off doing something [can’t remember what now] anyway, to give me something to do I started looking at the books being displayed at the front of a bookstore. Amongst them were journals/planners/diaries for next year and I thought to myself… each year I can never manage to find something that suits my needs. As a teacher, the teacher diaries leave no space for personal notes; personal diaries don’t have the extra features that are in teacher diaries. It is hard to see what you have coming up for the week when you are using a day-to-a-page planner, but there is not enough writing space in a weekly view. So then I thought why don’t I design my own? can’t be too difficult right? turns out I was correct! I started designing what I want the pages to look like as soon as I got home and now have a product that I like. Now to test it in the field…