Sunday, February 13, 2011

February 14 - 10 Things I Love About Being a TL

Happy Valentine's Day! I have so many things swirling in my head from all the new Twitter contacts I've made and from the recent blog posts I've read, that I felt it was impossible to choose just one to write about. I'm also a believer in sharing comments and ideas via comments to other blog posts, so that it starts a genuine conversation - no need to hog your "ahas" for your own blog. I mentioned a recent failed lesson and what I learned from it on one blog, the union's fear of email and social media on a principal's blog, and got excited about several blogs that showed how they use gaming in education. To keep my head from exploding, I thought I'd go for a "light" post today, on some of the things I love about being a teacher-librarian.

1) I am expected to collaborate - and two is better than one. = Some of the best lessons I've ever taught have been ones that were planned and executed alongside another educator. It's fun to work together!

2) I am surrounded by books and people who like the written word. = Despite the predicted death of printed books, right now there's still a place for all sorts of great stories. I do Forest of Reading chats with my students and I love when they just spill over and become true talks. The biggest compliment I got recently was from a grade six girl who said "I like talking with Mrs. Mali about books because with some teachers, it feels like an interview, but with her, we just chat."

3) I can use technology in new, exciting, engaging ways for learning. = I have a mini-lab in my classroom (the biggest class in the school). When a grade eight student discovered she could use her laptop in the library because the wi-fi hub extends to the library, she declared "I'll live here!"

4) I see students of all ages, from K-8. = I love knowing every kid in the school, and not just their name, but what they like, their pals, their interests, and so on. If a class is challenging, I know I don't have them long - is that naughty to say? What I do like is seeing them grow from tiny tykes at age 4 to near-teens.

5) I am guided by but not constrained by the curriculum. = All the collaborative projects I do with classes are anchored in the curriculum, but in the library I can work on those "essential skills" and big ideas important to the tasks.

6) My fellow TLs are a creative and cool group to associate with. = One of the reasons I love the library conferences is because it gives me a chance to talk with some talented people that know a lot and are willing to share.

7) Every day is different. = I love the variety! I have been a teacher-librarian for 14 years and I still don't think I've figured out "the right" way to do things. I don't get in a rut because there are so many different ways to do things that I don't do the same thing twice.

8) Learning, not marks, are what drives my program. = I do write report cards, but that's not what teacher-librarians are known for. Inquiry, exploring, playing - that's the driving force. Kids seem more relaxed in the library. Relaxed > happy > ready to learn!

9) I can be a leader without leaving the classroom. = I bemoan the fact that one of the few ways we reward excellent teachers is by removing them from the classroom to become administrators. When you are a teacher-librarian, you can have your cake and still keep it (or eat it? I always get that saying mixed up!) I still get to work with students but I also manage large budgets, create proposals, try research projects, present workshops, and more.

10) I love to help my staff. = Sometimes we aren't appreciated, but when you pull that book for the frazzled class teacher that they need in five minutes, or you show them an easy online tool that cuts their marking time in half, they are so grateful. They are also willing to share their discoveries, and then you can share with others, passing ideas along to maximize the impact.

I know I've forgotten so many other reasons, and I haven't phrased them as articulately as I would like, but just get the gist of the post > I love being a teacher-librarian!

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