Sunday, February 7, 2010

What are School Librarians Saying?

Too bad my friend and colleague over at The Tempered Radical has been listening to what the wrong school librarians are saying! And too bad he felt he had to remove this post from his blog and surrender to the emotional, stressful responses to his earlier posting.

Some of the school librarians who commented on your original post get it, Bill.

I know that as a language arts teacher, you are stressed, overworked, frustrated by the pressure of the tested curriculum. I know that you are working your arse off to provide creative, informative, valuable, technology-rich lessons to your learners. I know that you are the consummate educator, praising the strong outcomes of professional learning communities with your colleagues because the end result is improved instruction and through-the-roof student achievement.

I get it, Bill.

I felt this way, too -- stressed, overworked, frustrated. I also felt isolated, insular in my own little classroom, autonomous, and incredibly responsible for my 120+ students' learning. I felt all those things as a language arts teacher.

I realize that you don't feel like you have the time to collaborate with your school librarians and take them up on their offers to plan, teach, and assess with you and your students. I recognize that you are an intelligent, well-read, tech savvy professional. I recognize that you are an avid reader and that you take offense at comments that lead you to feel that school librarians believe themselves to be the "lead readers" in a school and the "make or break" factor in reading programs.

I take offense at that, too, because now as the school librarian at my current school, I'm responsible for creating 850+ information literate, life-long readers, and I certainly cannot do that by myself. I'm not arrogant enough to believe that I'm the "be-all-end-all" when it comes to reading instruction.

But I am smart enough to know that my students need our entire school community to become the most academically successful individuals they can be. I also know that I would be a better language arts teacher now because of my experiences as a school librarian.

I appreciated your disclaimer at the beginning of your post and your recognition of some of the strong school librarians in our district. Those are the school librarians you need to be listening to; those are the ones that can help us -- classroom teachers and school librarians -- figure out how to all be accountable for the learning that happens in our schools.


Shelva Buk said...

Dear Keeper,
Right ON girl! Thanks for putting your non emotional, well intended comments out for all to read. Collaboration is the only way we will survive in the 21st century and the students must learn by example. Aren't active, productive PLCs the structure that we use to collaborate with each other? No fluff here!

Bam Bam Bigelow said...

Hey Pal,

Good post---and an example of the kinds of reasoned thinking that the best media specialists demonstrate all the time.

The hitch for me remains a simple one: There are A LOT of media specialists who don't put their best foot forward when advocating for your profession.

You've seen that with me in some of the TLN conversations that we've had---and there's evidence of that in many of the comments around this conversation. Heck, in one week I was called an angry, juvenile, childish and unprofessional idiot who needed to find a new job.

For a profession that is always sadly on the chopping block, that's dangerous!

My central point---which got lost in a rambling conversation---still stands. Through poorly constructed advocacy, media specialists might just be inadvertently turning off allies.

I just wanted to point that out to y'all! sure has been a learning experience. I'm sure I'll value it more a few months from now when I'm not buried in comments that range from respectful to rude!

Rock on,