Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Role , a Role, my kingdom for a clearly defined Role

At the end of a huge week in which I began to really miss being "just" a classroom teacher, thinking about the complex, varied and enormous scope that a T/L's job encompasses - it has given me a large headache. In fact a debilitating one. I think my melancholy about not being in the classroom with a class is that I feel inexpert at everything, pulled from pillar to post and thoroughly isolated. I miss the collegiality of the staffroom and the sense of completing something. I know that that is just ridiculous to think that I am not completing something – I am being inarticulate. I suppose that there are aspects of the job I just didn’t consider. So much that I didn’t consider.

I have been overwhelmed the vast amounts of writing on the T/L, both in academia and fellow students. The thoughtful postings on the forum have certainly provided a feast of food for thought. I suppose my biggest struggle with the concept is how to approach it. I swing between being able to see the role in a general sense - of a vital member of staff in a school in the learning hub, collaborating and teaching the vital skills of information literacy, managing access to all the resources and advocating the love of reading. And then get bogged down in the minutiae of the various aspects of the role - of which there seem to be many. The realities of being the one who has to fix the "blooming" photocopier that is jammed yet again isn't something that you really need to forget about - but it does chew up a large part of your day! Some days more than others - and there are also other mundane aspects which seem to be something that a classroom teacher does not really have to deal with. I suppose that what much of the literature suggests is that you need to be proactive, and be an advocate for your role. If you do that then the rest of the staff, students and community aren’t going to view you as someone who puts books back on a shelf and hosts events! The chair wrangling and being on “playground” duty for 1 hour and 45 minutes a day is not what I wanted. I am trying to change the culture and behaviour of the students in the library but it is going to be an uphill battle.

I suppose what I want is for people to have a clear understanding of the role that at Teacher librarian has within a school – but at present that isn’t even particularly clear in be befuddled head. I have to stop basing my idea of what the role is on instinct and traditional views and get with the 21st century program. So here is my attempt to enunciate what I feel the T/L is or should be

An educator that supports students in their learning journey – ensuring that there are equipped with the essential information literacy skills to successfully navigate the terabytes of information accessible in the world in order that they can use and create texts and ideas.

Think it needs work – a lot of work. It will be interesting to see how my view of this changes as the weeks of this session progresses.

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