Monday, 23 May 2011

A critical synthesis of my reflection on how my view of the role of the teacher librarian may have changed during this subject.

This subject, ETL401, has enabled me to read and reflect on my role as a teacher-librarian, and as Library Coordinator. For the last ten years, I have attempted to attend to everyone’s needs and be everything to everybody. In recent months however, I have realised that I work more productively when I direct my expertise to certain roles, while delegating to library team members what Purcell (2010) refers to as “clerical duties such as cataloguing and processing materials” (p. 31).
I have adapted Melissa Purcell’s “Time Study Observation Sheet”, from her 2010 article (p. 31). I have prepared a time study for myself and the Head of the Audio Visual Department, who is also interested in providing valuable evidence of the wide variety of roles that we perform each day. In case we are ever faced with reducing the numbers of library staff, this study will help to demonstrate the tasks that we regularly perform. I have included the adapted time study sheet at the end of this section. The example from my blog is dated 25 April, 2010. The blog is entitled, “The Role of the Teacher-Librarian”.
From Monday 2 May I was expected to mark the electronic roll of the Year 12 Study Room for each of the 75 minute periods. With my renewed sense of evaluating my priorities, I have passed this responsibility onto a colleague.
I have grown in professionalism from the Topic 6 readings. The examples that I have recorded in my blog, which is dated 24 April and entitled “Management”, lists pointers such as the advice that James Herring gave in his podcast to refuse staff who bob up and demand my time. I used this advice soon after, on 31 March, when the Year 9 Coordinator rang to offer to mediate between myself and a student in her year level, as a result of the student’s unacceptable behaviour in the library the previous day. I asked her to make another time the next day, which she did. I was happy that I could complete the important task that I was working on.
A Topic 6 forum entry, dated 26 April, on the topic of “Management” lists three ideas that were new to me from Gilman’s (2007) article, “The Four Habits of Highly Effective Librarians”. The third of these, collaboration, was described on the forum as the use of social networking tools that allow community members to collect, annotate and share resources. I have suggested to our library’s Head of the Audio Visual Department that since the library team each have a Facebook account, we should use it to communicate with each other. Last Monday, 16 May, I sent a Facebook message to remind them of our library team meeting the next day. The response was positive.
Apart from the benefits of collaboration between the library staff, the examples I contributed to the Topic 3 forum on 25 April describe the types of collaboration that should occur between teachers and teacher-librarians. I’m ashamed to admit it, but my long-held view of collaborative planning and teaching was to mix and mingle, waiting for teachers to request assistance with information literacy instruction. I lacked the confidence to approach teachers to suggest how I could enhance the information literacy of classes. I have used a passive approach by merely suggesting help at faculty meetings and via the library’s monthly e-Newsletter. After reading examples by Herring and Tarter (2007), Herring (2006), Hay (2006), Todd (2003) and Wolf (2004), I feel confident now to approach teachers in person, or via email to make suggestions to meet.
The many examples that I have given in my entries on the Topic 5 “Collaborative Practice” forum and blog on 15 May have drastically altered my view of collaboration. The library staff is becoming used to me quoting Joyce Valenza (2011) from her “Untitled” vodcast. It’s true, “We are stronger when we share”!
Dianne Oberg (2006) has changed my view of collaborating with the principal. Since reading her comments that principals regard in-servicing of teaching staff as the most important aspect of the teacher-librarians role, I am more willing to offer professional development to all staff. My principal was very enthusiastic when I organized representatives from the State Library of Victoria to conduct a session on their revamped Ergo website, which was offered to English and Humanities teachers on 23 March this year. Ergo’s motto is: Research Resources Results and their six step research process is based on the New South Wales Department of Education and Training model.  This professional development followed an Ergo session for the whole staff that I organized in December, 2010. More examples of the ideas that I am now adopting are expressed on my “The Role of the Teacher Librarian” blog, from 25 April.
The example I gave in this blog entry, expresses the new learning that Ross Todd (2003) has given me in regard to the evaluation that I can make at the end of the information literacy lessons that I conduct with classes. By asking students to “state three things they had learned, how the lesson had improved the way they conducted research, and how he could further help them” (n. p.) is a productive way to gain insights into the benefits of the lesson, while gauging how an information literacy lesson could be improved. The evaluation enables students to reflect on what they have achieved and learned.
Whilst I have always included a teaching tip to teachers in the library’s monthly e-Newsletter, I have begun to include tips and suggestions from the learnings I’ve gained from James Herring, such as including the library’s website on assignments, which was mentioned in his podcast (2010). 




















Adapted by Louise McInerney on 29 May, 2011 from Purcell, M. (2010 p. 31).

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