Sunday, November 21, 2010

November 22 - Should some time be reserved "non-TL time"?

On Saturday November 20, I attended (at the request of my principal) a conference offered by SMART Tech. It was a good conference. I learned a lot. I got a free t-shirt and a backpack too and swag is always appreciated. I have to admit that I wasn't super-keen on going at first. If I hadn't chosen to skip the ECOO conference the previous weekend (which was hard to do because it's another very good conference), then I would have been booked to attend a meeting or conference every Saturday this November. I have children of my own (a nearly-11 year old and an 8 year old) and I like spending time with them on the weekend. I'm lucky that my husband's occupation allows him to work from home and take care of our kids - he is there to give them lunch, pick them up from school, and help them with their homework. Still, I hate leaving him and the kids for hours on days that should be "family time".

But how does carving out "family time" work, especially when people encourage 24/7 access to school library resources and flexible library hours? Friday was devoted to parent-teacher interviews, but we still had students in the school practising in the morning with their music ensemble and working in the afternoon with their volleyball team. This demonstrates the devotion these teachers have to the clubs and teams they offer and the dedication the students have to improving their craft - but should they get a day off? These are hard questions for me to ask myself, because I get really irritated when I read union-produced articles about extra-curricular activities and transporting students to events that encourage educators to "just say no" to everything.

I think part of the answer lies with quality vs quantity. I don't have to have the school library open every single recess for students to come to finish assignments (and avoid the cold) - I'm allowed to close it for bathroom breaks and visits to the staff room during treat day, as long as I try to keep it open for their use when I can. I don't have to be at home all Saturday with my own children and entertain them constantly - I'm allowed to take some time for me or for PD, as long as when I am with them that I'm truly "with" them, doing stuff together. I'm neither "SuperMom" nor "SuperSchoolLibrarian" - I do what I can as long as I remember: "to thine own self be true".

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