The role of a Teacher Librarian has the capacity to overwhelm. Its diversity, enormity, pervasiveness and at times, isolation has the potential to leave the practitioner right where the old woman is. Toiling tirelessly and seemingly thanklessly with the demands of all on her shoulders.
Having never experienced the work of a teacher librarian prior to the start of term one, the height of the hill and the weight of the load did seem overwhelming. Not being afraid of hard work, it looked like just a matter of buckling down, shouldering the load and getting on with it!
The trouble with this approach is that your back is bent, yours eyes focussed only on the single goal ahead, you have no time to stop and talk – that just adds to the burden! You may be applauded for your martyrdom but at the end of the day all you have to show is a bundle of sticks at the top of a hill.
In confronting a range of aspects of the role of teacher librarian in the course Teacher Librarianship through Charles Sturt University, there is a different landscape.
Image by Fabulas Fafla at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tesse/3481954249/in/faves-51965108@…, originally licensed attribution and non-commercial.
There is an understanding that yes, the role has many demands. These demands must be managed and prioritised according to the needs of the learning community at any given time. The needs can change and shapeshift so there is a definite need to be responsive and flexible. This is an area that is still a struggle – with so much learning around the day to day activity of the job, remaining current is at times a chore. The results however are usually delightful and fulfilling, so this is where the need for collaboration steps in.
I should reflect here on the use of the forums because this is where current collaboration is required. I must say that I am guilty of posting only once. I read them voraciously but never felt confident enough to dive in. I suppose this is part of my developing information literacy and here I am developing keen insight.
Am I an information literate individual in the 21st century? Not a competent one. Some of this relates to preferred learning styles. Information literacy requires the ability to recognise and select what is needed. As a hoarder I find I collect too much which often results in inertia. I must become more discerning. My refelction about why the process has proven so difficult personally has helped to refine an understanding of the process as metamorphic concept. One which must adapt to its user, its needs and its context. It has to have transferability also.
Whilst the burden of the course content and readings on top of the teacher librarian learning curve has been incredibly difficult, it has also been profoundly illuminating. Perhaps in reflection it would have been sage to leave the course for a year so that the basic running skills were if not mastered at least less invasive. On the other hand, despite the intensity, being able to merge current best practice and research with my emerging persona as a teacher librarian has meant that the learning is authentic and hopefully there will be fewer bad habits to unlearn.
There is a lovely link between my role as teacher librarian, my developing role as a teacher of information literacy, and my role as Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) coordinator in my learning community. All of these roles require collaboration and the need to build teams and create shared vision. There is a connectedness and synergy about the coming together of these roles which is energising and invigorating. With PBL as a school priority, and the teacher librarian at the hub of an evolving learning community, there is the ability to embed information literacy, and 21st Century skills at the heart. it seems to reinforce so much of what I have been reading.
Published on Oct 23, 2011 by TheTotalprofit
Right Here Right Now
My investigations and experiences, as well as my skills have certainly responded to my new understandings! As I do the final tuning on this second essay I marvel at: My wielding of a bookmarking tool where I have collated and bookmarked and sticky noted in an effort to streamline my information selection and processing. Leading collaborative meeting next week with the mind matters team – year 8 guided inquiry task. Collaboratively improving a year 7 science investigation with 5 science teachers. I have some QR codes up and have been showing them to interested parties. I have four classes blogging. I have weeded some pretty old resources. I am scanning materials from older resources to be added to digital collections relevant to specific assignments. Year 7 have been working on virtual tours of the library and book trailers. None of which I was aware of at the start of the year! I think they outweigh the failures.
But . . . there is still so much to learn!