We’ve seen these faces before. Newbies are generally easy to identify with their looks of fear, nervousness, and at times even silliness. No matter the age or experience, newbies can easily be picked out of a crowd most of the time.
Many new teachers in the educational arena are given a set of keys to something that looks like this…
…and miraculously must transform it to something like this—and be ready not only for the first day of school with students, but often times just before that first day for expectant parents and open house at school. YIKES. Truly a stressor for many new at this.
New Librarians are no different. Often times they inherent outdated systems (i.e. card catalogs), books that need to be cataloged—and often times weeded before the cataloging can begin), old and dated materials on the shelf, and some library expectations/rules they are highly recommended at NOT changing until they can get acclimated tot heir school.
It is no wonder those who are new at a school job oftentimes have the shell-shocked look and have second thoughts if not downrght full feldged feelings of homesickness.
For the reasons just outlined, I like to consider myself the leader of the blind. Blind because these newbies are ripe for working with, for developing a relationship with, and for getting some authentic interaction and collaboration for a dynamic library program. Consider what makes teachers (or librarians) stress. New ideas, new programs, changes—all these things bring a little stress into the life of a teacher or librarian. These are the opportunities for us to step up and work our magic. Examples: New teacher needs help with setting up new classroomThe network login changed and veteran teacher doesn’t know hoe to loginThe school has a new camera and that national board candidate needs help capturing video for a portfolioA teacher is using her tried and true scavenger hint for dtatabases, but the entire interface has changedThese are the opportunities we have to lead—despite that the stressors are OURS TOO. For that reason I called this presentation “The Blind Leading the Blind.”
Because of our unique opportunity to be the stress relief in our buildings, we can work to make connections, develop networks, and expand thinking amongst our colleagues. Whether you look at your self as part of a hierarchal network (somewhere in the mix) or as a changing connection in the nodes of your network, never forget that you are a vital spoke in the umbrella of learning. And best, you can flip those umbrellas, and instead of a spoke, be the light that illuminates and brightens a room, all from behind the scenes. Being a librarian affords you many opportunities and a variety of ways to be involved in connected learning, be it your own or others.
So how does one take on the role of be all end all, lead learner in the school? Meet them where they are at. Sometimes its in a faculty meetings, other times in their classrooms. Online tools afford many opportunities for you to help or become integrated in the lives of students and teachers. Even after work hangouts can be ripe for becoming involved in lesson plans, learning, and leading.
MarkGranito was a rookie teacher I worked with before. Listen to his story.
Fran Bullingotn is a teacher librarian who shifted careers, becoming the newbie in a new role.
Lorie Moore is a fellow teacher I work with who can speak to the effect of allowing me to be the one to show kids its okay not to know everything, but to take chances.
Having good working relationships with your school community generally is rewarded with success. Being the one willing to try new things, experienced or not, and showing that you don’t have to be the expert, but are willing to give a helping hand can gain you support and the ever necessary quality of indispensability in your program. Modeling a no fear attitude, and demonstrating trial and error and even failure builds trust in your school community. Maximize on these attributes to have a dynamic program.
Teachers are forever grateful to have help when there is a task that is new or changed.
By willingly being the go to person in your school, you breed connectivity I your position as a school librarian.
And remember, just try. You truly have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The old saying, if you build it they will come is true. If you build those relationships, they will come. And new folks or people new to concepts are ripe for breeding these relationships. Take advantage of the opportunity.
ISTE 2011 SIGMS Forum: A Dawning Era for School Librarians
The Blind Leading the Blind<br />Blindly (but fearlessly) led by<br />Cathy Jo Nelson<br />