I’ve been back to school since 8 August. While my blog posts decreased prior to that with my laptop in the questionable hands of the Geek Squad (sorry, it wasn’t a good experience) my posting didn’t pick up when my machine was returned. Getting back into a routine that begins at 5 a.m is exhausting! Yes, I know I should maintain a 5 a.m. routine when I’m not working, but I am not now nor have I ever been a morning person.
You may remember that much of my summer was spent looking for a new job in this tight job market. I’m glad to have a job to return to and I embrace the opportunity to effectively address literacy needs in my school, regardless of the challenges.
This year, we’ve become a boys and girls academy with the genders separated on different floors and time schedules. We actually have 7 time schedules which have students moving at different times depending upon their age. Middle school students have block classes while upper classmen maintain a traditional high school class period.
The schedule definitely presents a challenge to bringing classes into the media center, but working with separate genders does even more so. Friday, I had classes of middle school boys. While I am truly impressed by their enthusiasm for books, I will have to work really hard to find ways to contain and direct the vast amount of energy these boys bring into the media center. I’m willing to work with their energy but they have to be willing to work with restrictions such as not going behind the fish tank, not running across the room and not using books as weapons. Just small stuff that’s part of growing up!
These changes cause me to grow by becoming different and better at what I do. This year just has a very steep learning curve! Thursday, these changes were confronted with an announcement from the state’s superintendent of education recommending that my school should be one of six in this district to have daily operations taken over by a turnaround school operator in the 2012 academic year.
I want the students at my school to be able to have not just a decent, but a dynamic, transformative education and I want to be able to do all I can to be part of that process. I think that’s what all good teachers want.
I do continue to grow outside my ‘job’. This past week I was able to present on the topic of ‘finding urban lit and manga’ to other school librarians. I loved to deliver the message that urban lit ¹ African American lit; that many, but not all students do love “drama”. I liked that one librarian said ‘It’s really just realistic fiction, right?” Yes! These books come from someone’s reality!! I also introduced them to new books, POC books and blogs and a local vendor I recently met who is a good source for manga and comics.
I’ve been invited to speak at the 10th anniversary of the Indiana Black Librarians Network at Purdue University in October and I’ll also be presenting in November at ALAN with Ari and Lyn Miller-Lachmann. This past summer, I worked on a discussion guide for Ghetto Cowboy. It is an incredibly good book but I think my review would be a bit biased at this point, so I won’t be posting one. I can link you to these reviews of the book on GoodReads and this from Kirkus. And, I can say that writing discussion guides is a natural fit for a school librarian! I could certainly see doing that again.
I always say a good teacher is a good learner. I think you can see that I have been, and continue to do a lot of learning. I hope that helps makes me a good teacher!