One thing that does not change no matter what grade you teach, what school you are at, or how long you have been an educator is the mad rush that is preplanning. It is usually met with extreme excitement mixed with fear, stress, and the desire to perfect your classroom for your students. (A wise woman I know said that the day you are no longer scared/nervous for the first day of school is the day you should retire. That nervous feeling we get is what drives us to be the best version of ourselves to help our students. So be nervous and excited! It's normal!) Our teachers during preplanning were feeling all of this in addition to being met with meetings, new district/school initiatives, and we have a lot of teachers who feed on the desire to do well. While I would have loved to have a professional development session during preplanning to explain all the goals and plans I have for the library this year, I thought it best that this year should include something straight and to the point. I had high hopes of having a model lesson where teachers would complete a Breakout EDU session in which they learned about the new stations setup in the library as well as our new online resources (like PebbleGo Next, the new Destiny Discover Collections, and Flipgrid), but this needed to be something teachers could read at their leisure and contact me when they are ready to collaborate. So I created a SMORE and plan to start PD in September collaborating with our awesome new instructional technology teacher, Mrs. Jackson.
It's important when establishing and maintaining a good rapport with teachers that we do not overwhelm them and instead try to make their lives easier. Yes, all the technology and resource tools I want to share will make their lives easier, but it can also take awhile to learn them and how to incorporate them effectively into the classroom. Librarians are experts in many areas, but one thing I struggle with is reigning in my excitement for sharing ideas and new tools. While it's great to be super excited, it's easy for me to forget how stressed teachers can be with the million things on their plates and how some may be uncomfortable with any amount of change. For example, our 2nd grade teachers are learning Guided Reading and are trying to start the Guided Reading program for the first time. If I come into their planning to try to introduce Flipgrid, it's going to be a hard sell. However, I am developing ways to incorporate our new tools in ways that model how they can be used. Why not start a Flipgrid topic on Guided Reading and have teachers share updates of how implementation is going through the topic? All this to say, as librarians we have to be supportive, understanding, and innovative in how we approach our students and our staff. I'm looking forward to sitting down with our new ITT to develop a PD plan for this school year that is less stressful for teachers but also fun and informative!
When advocating for our libraries and our profession, we can't forget our administrative team! Doesn't it always seem like the only time the higher ups visit is that one 10 minute period during the day where it's quiet and there are no kids? It's busy all day long but it's that one time they come in that it feels like a ghost town. To counteract that, I take a ton of pictures, make sure I keep a running journal of activities, lessons, and more to help advocate for our library. I have also ordered the advocacy toolkit from AASL! It includes brochures geared towards administration, teachers, and parents about the ways libraries are transforming teaching and learning. For my librarian friends who have not bought it, you should! It's completely free (just pay shipping). Get it here.
Feel free to use and update for your own library!
School Librarian Advocating for Student Voice in Metro Atlanta