Discuss the activities you were involved in while on placement and reflect upon what you have learnt and gained from these experiences.
I taught lessons for students from Pre-K3 (three years old) to Grade 5 using both a co-teaching model as well as the traditional teaching mode of librarian in charge. I most enjoyed the co-teaching lessons with either my mentor librarian or the class teacher as I felt we played off each other very well and provided the students with a visual, visceral reminder that teachers can learn and work together to provide interesting learning. It was interesting to see the difference between the teachers who viewed the library lesson as a ‘free period’ and those who valued the role of the library as a place where the teacher could be involved too.
I loved being welcomed into classes as the resident ‘expert’ on research and information literacy when acting as ‘push in’ librarian. The feeling of empowerment and excitement that I saw on students’ faces, as well as the teachers’, made me even more intent on advocating for the role of both flexible and scheduled library lessons – the library can come to you! Being in classrooms helping teachers showed me very clearly how little they know about effective research. Very few teachers even understood how databases work, despite having professional development on it at the beginning of the school year. That clearly shows me that constantly providing opportunities to model information literacy fluency to students and teachers is critical.
The amount of meetings the TLs go to over the course of a week was staggering – over nine hours worth! However, I learnt that if you want your library to be used and your skills, expertise and programme to be valued, you have to put in the face time with teachers at their planning meetings.
For someone who is not the least bit detail orientated, I was shocked at how much I enjoyed my sojourn into weeding. It was a huge task that involved all members of the library staff as there had not been a proper weeding in more than five years. I relished studying the stats provided by Follett, finding the out of date and tatty books, whipping the unloved and unborrowed off the shelves and deleting them from the system. All of us in the library had a bit of a giggle when some teachers came in and got excited about ‘all the new books’! It is very clear to me now how important it is to regularly spot weed or at least once a year so that it does not become a behemoth to be tackled during my personal holidays.
One of the more glamorous and exciting activities I participated in was helping with next year’s resource ordering. Both TLs had already filled the bulk of their Follett carts but I was still able to add any titles I felt could complement the collection based on my experience as a teacher, an Australian, a mother to two young children and as a trainee TL. Physically going through the process of purchasing from Follett was a very valuable learning experience which I blogged about in detail so I can refer to it when I finally get my hands on a library of my own.