Wednesday, December 28, 2011

For All of Them

My school held its winter concerts all on the same evening this month before we left for break.  I sat in the "gymnatorium" being entertained by my students, and I could not help but be impressed with the opportunities our students are provided with. The drama club and chorus were first, and they integrated their performances. The students in the drama club performed skits introducing the songs performed by the school chorus. Next, the orchestra played. One of their numbers included the principal reading "The Night Before Christmas" with the orchestra playing sound effects as he read. The band performed last, and as usual, they were wonderful. So impressive! All these performance opportunities for students in grades six through eight.  I  enjoyed the programs, maybe a little too much.  Bursting with pride, I sat up front with the camera wielding parents and grandparents. The teachers tend to sit or stand in the back, but I always want a front row seat. I had a huge smile on my face as I sat tapping my foot to the music and laughing at the funny parts. I was really into it, bordering on too into it, when the woman sitting beside me turned and said, "Which one is yours?" I said proudly, "All of them!" Smiling, she replied, "Oh! What do you teach?" Rather than my usual lengthy reply I simply smiled and said, "I'm the librarian!"
since it is not nice to talk during performances.

I think it is great that public schools provide such rich and varied opportunities for students. Academics, sports, arts, and activities such as Beta Club, Student Government, Battle of the Brains Academic Quiz Team, the school news program and more. This is a testament to what our public schools have to offer. The school library completes this package with a helpful library staff, computer labs, book clubs, the library helper program, reading promotions, before and after school hours and more. There is something for everyone.  Schools with a library run by a certified librarian simply have more to offer their students. I have heard people say that if it were not for the sports program, some students would not stay in school. The same is true for the library program.

In the age of cruel budget cuts and furloughs many say, "cut band, cut football, cut chorus, cut the library". Since there are no "library concerts" or "library games" to fill the school's parking lot and bleachers, librarians must fiercely publicize all the good that we do and all the needs that we meet. We must show what we have to offer.  Who do we teach? The answer is: all of them, even the teachers and sometimes the parents. It makes me proud to be able to say that.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Why I Love My Job

These are just a few reasons why I think I have the best job in the school. Of course, nothing is perfect, and every job has challenges.  Focusing on what I love about my job helps me get through those challenges. 

Hopefully, I will add to this post from time to time.
  • This year, I actually caught a student sneaking into the library through an exit only door. We were at capacity one morning and I was not letting any more students into the library, so a student tried to sneak in the side door. Of course, students are not supposed to sneak in. I had to correct him, but secretly, it made me happy to think I have created a place students wanted that badly to be in. 
  • Book Clubs are so much fun. I love the energy and enthusiasm the students bring with them. One of the reasons why book clubs are great is because they are something students choose to do voluntarily. Everyone there wants to be there
  • I love planning and preparing for reading celebrations and book club meetings. It is basically having a party! We know how to party in the library! 
  • My Manga Boys always keep me on my toes. They are very enthusiastic about their Shonen Jump, Dragon Ball Z, and Naruto. I am always happy to see them coming through the doors.
  • Contests Drawings and promotions are always fun. I love brainstorming new ways to promote reading. One of my latest brainstorms has been the "first check out" drawings at school and on Facebook. Who doesn't LOVE to give away prizes?
  • One of the best things about my job is the variety. No two days are ever alike and there is always something to look forward to or get ready for.
  • "I'm the only one!" as Tigger says. I'm the only librarian in the building. This has its down side, but  I enjoy being the go-to person for technology issues, research questions, reading and website recommendations and collaborative teaching. It is a great feeling to help a teacher find the perfect resource for a lesson or to help a student with their bibliography.
  • Laughing. If you ever want a good laugh, spend some time in a middle school. If you have a sense of humor and you are not too "full of yourself" it is almost guaranteed that you will be amused by their antics and their honesty and their awkwardness (which I find adorable).
  • It feels great to purchase books that students have requested and notify them when their book arrives. I always make sure the student who requested the book gets the first chance to check it out. It is like I have bought them a gift, they feel special and that makes me happy.
  • School Life is great. Especially middle school. Why? Because at the middle school level we have it all. We have sports and clubs and activities and academics, but the students aren't cemented into their "cliques" yet. There's nothing like school spirit, pep rallies, band concerts and school plays to make you feel part of a youthful right of passage. 
  • The regulars. I call students who check out lots of books or visit the library frequently my regulars. There are always some big time readers who plow through books. I love getting to know them and their tastes. I love it when I have the perfect title in mind for them when they come in for a book. 
  • I love to see students come in the library, pull a book off the shelf, plop down on the floor and read. I love to see them playing checkers together. I love to see my students use their library and enjoy its resources. 
  • It thrills me to hear a student tell me that they loved the book I recommended to them and want another one like it. Even better is when they bring a friend in to get book recommendations. 
  • I enjoy getting to know students during their three year stay at our school. It is wonderful to watch these young people learn and grow and change as they go from grade six to eight. 
  • I have the goods. Sometimes I feel like a drug dealer. "Got any library passes?" they ask. "Is the library open at lunch today? Are the new books here yet?  When is the next book club meeting? Can I be a library cadet?" Music to my ears! Okay, so it becomes problematic when Bobby visits the library six times a day without permission. But he can't help it! That's where all the cool stuff is!
  • I LOVE LOVE being the catalyst and introducing my faculty to new technologies and helping them integrate them into their lessons. It feels great to help a teacher make a leap into trying something new.