Monday, May 5, 2014

Not Perfect - and OK with it!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 was the first Toronto District School Board Library Learning Commons Showcase. It was a busy and educational event, as the Twitter stream can attest.

Because I couldn't decide what to share, I had two separate elements: the partnership between the school library and the Ontario Early Years Centre (OEYC), and the evolution of my long-range planning from the beginning of my career as a teacher-librarian to the present, with the influence of Together for Learning  and the Library Learning Commons showing through. I took great delight in pointing out what my very first long-range plan was when I was just an "itty bitty baby teacher-librarian" in 1997. It consisted of a lined piece of paper with the month and a single phrase written beside it (e.g. May = Research).

In a related incident (well, I'll make the connection clearer in the latter half of this post), on this very same day in the morning, I was trying frantically to submit my Forest of Reading votes on the Ontario Library Association website. Our school voted for their favourite Blue Spruce, Silver Birch, and Red Maple titles on April 28, 2014 and the 30th was the last day to send them. Three of the ten titles were missing from the screen when I tried to input my numbers and I was panicking. I tried a different browser, I phoned OLA, and in desperation, I grabbed another teacher in the building to see if she could trouble shoot for me. She took one look at the screen, reached for the mouse, and scrolled using the mouse wheel instead of the side bar. Presto.

(Did I mention that I'm the lead ICT teacher at my school? Um ... yeah.)

Why am I highlighting my errors and my less-than-ideal past performances? I think it's important to see the process and not just the product. If you don't see all the mis-steps, stumbles, re-tries, and changes, then the end result looks unobtainable. Like Hedley says, "I'm not perfect, but I'll keep trying". While at the Library Learning Commons Showcase, several people made reference to the recent issue of Voice magazine and my article. It's a good read, if I do say so myself, but I'm no superstar. Stress can impact performance, like my goof-ups this week partly due to the hectic schedule of Spring Concert rehearsal week. It takes reflection and practice and revision to make things better. Even the collaborative endeavors between the school library and the OEYC has been a work in progress - it was in conversation with Kitty (the site lead) and realizing that the pre-schoolers were listening but not understanding that spurred us to modify the program to include a retell portion for the children post-library time.

So, I happily accept the compliments from last week and potential ones for this week (which will be filled with Track and Field Day, Toronto East Heritage Fair, the Ministry of Education TLLP workshops, and the TDSB Google Camp), but I'll also point out that it took a lot of work and slip-ups to get to this stage. I'm not perfect, and that's okay.

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