September 9, 2011

Learning Log 4

Posted in Learning Logs- Module 1 at 6:44 am by lmt84

We have read many articles and viewed many videos in this first Module, but one of my favorites was “The Teacher’s Take, Part 2: The Instructional Role of the School Librarian”, by Carl A. Harvey II. I found this article insightful and I personally feel that this was the one that benefitted me the most. The reason for this is because it was an actual interview with teachers and I got to hear essentially how to be a fantastic collaborative partner, straight from the mouths of the teachers themselves. I see this information to be invaluable, but there were a few parts that struck me in particular.

I have commented a lot in our Discussion Threads about being proactive in “advertising” your program. It was wonderful for me to see my train of thought being backed up by Harvey himself. He stated, “School librarians can’t wait for an invitation; you have to make your own” (2). Although a bit blunt, this is extremely true. We have to use every minute of our valued planning time to strategize how to get more people into the school library as well as how to go about laying groundwork for establishing collaborative relationships. We cannot sit back and expect people to come to us. We are the technology experts—we know the resources that are out there to best supplement the curricula of our school’s content areas. If we want our program to make a difference in our students’ education, then we have to actively make it happen.

The readings and discussions for this Module have suggested that perhaps a fear of stepping out of one’s comfort zone is a factor in a lack of collaborative partnerships. In particular, we have discussed that more experienced teachers may be a group that falls victim to this mentality. Keeping this in mind it was interesting to me when Sally, a teacher for over 25 years said, “If you are willing to listen,and are open to new ideas, collaborating actually saves time because the school librarian knows what is available and not as much time is spent searching for materials, good Web sites, etc.” (3). She stresses two important things here. One—collaboration absolutely needs participants who are truly open to explore new ideas and technologies. You must be willing to give a bit of control over to the partner in order to jointly create a product that will be an academic success. Two—teachers don’t have to stress about searching for resources to supplement their curriculum, an expert is already at hand at the school. It was refreshing to hear comments like this from a teacher because I honestly do not know what percentage of a school staff is open to try new things or allow a librarian to have a more involved role in their units. This part of the article gave me hope that as long as I am optimistic about collaborating, then the teachers will reciprocate these feelings.

Lastly and I feel very importantly, this article reminded me that the school librarian needs to have a handle on the curricula offered throughout the school. Although the teachers are the content experts, we need to know the general units/concepts taught in the classes. This way if I come across a new resource online via a blog or other social networking tool, I can automatically know what teachers would benefit from it at my school. One of the best quotes (in my opinion) from the article is as follows:

                “He is interwoven into each grade level because he chooses to get involved with every subgroup in the school.   He provides support for every group within our school. In turn, he impacts the learning of every child directly and indirectly at times” (5).

This quote reminds me of just how important this job is. Librarians are truly a central part of the school. The heart of our program in turn affects our role as the core of intellectual thought in the school. We serve teachers to strengthen their lessons which in turn advances student success. I like to think of the school as a living organism—with people and parts relying on each other. Librarians cannot have a genuine impact if we do not work with others.  However, when this is accomplished, our programs, as well as the school itself will thrive.

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