Monday Musings: How Is the New Job Going So Far?

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This school year, I moved into a new role.  I am currently a K-6 library/media specialist.  Previously, I have been a middle & high school English teacher, a K-5 English as a New Language teacher and a K-6 & 9-10 Literacy Coach. Although this school year is the beginning of my 13th year as an educator, this is my first year in this role. Many people have inquired about my job.  This is how it is going so far.

Pros

  • I missed working with students.  This role allows me to teach and work with every one of the 870 students in my school.
  • I have five educator license certifications and this role has allowed me to use my 4th obtained license which is Library/Media P-12.  Note: Do I have a license is a common question I am asked because in Indiana a school district is only required to have one person in the district possess a library/media specialist license.  
  • I have funds to diversify the book collection in the media center.  I’m super excited to be able to purchase books my students requested and books that reflect the diverse student population.
  • Three students from the last elementary school I worked in attend my current school, so it was nice to have three students know me (and how I operate) on day one.
  • Today, my school is having our BigGreen learning garden kick off.  I brought a BigGreen garden to my last school and was the Garden Lead.  I am an urban gardener so I love that this school has a learning garden too.
  • I’m around books all day long.  I’m a bibliophile, so I love being around books and talking to kids about books.
  • Teachers seem to really love the school.  Some of them even enrolled their children in the school.  Even my principal’s daughter attends the schools.  When teachers are willing to bring their kids to the school where they work, it speaks to how much they trust the education happening in the school. Note: Although my boys could attend my current school, my husband and I have decided to keep them at their boundary school because they have attended their boundary school since kindergarten.

Cons

  • Most of my career, I have worked in schools with a later start time. I really dislike having to be at work at 7:10 a.m. I am a morning person, but I’m a morning at home type of morning person.  I get up early seven days a week.  I just don’t necessarily want to interact with others early in the morning. I’m more alert for interaction with others later in the day.
  • My sons attend school in Washington Township, so we don’t have the same calendar.  This year is the first school year we will not have the same fall break which meant we had to cancel our fall break family vacation.
  • My prep time is super short.  This is the shortest prep I have ever had in my entire career.  When my boys turned three, I decided that work stays at work.  I will occasionally complete tasks from work at home.  Typically, they are short tasks that do not take away from my family life. With limited time, it is taking longer for me to accomplish tasks
  • I am the third person in the role in the last three school years.  As a library/media specialist you serve students and staff.  I’m extremely systematic and I also know that changes are hard for people.  At times I will hear, “Well, previously we…” to which I respond, “Thanks for sharing. I wasn’t aware.”  Then, I share my why behind the change. I have learned if people understand the why, they are more likely to go with the flow.
  • The body of books in the media center needs more diversity.  I don’t like some of the books I have seen in the media center.  They seem antiquated and do not reflect the diverse population of the school.
  • I miss the bell.  In the secondary, students move based on when the bell rings.  In elementary, classes move based on the teacher.  I miss the having the bell to keep schedules on time.
  • I miss coaching teachers.  I have talked to many of the teachers I have coached over the years during the last few weeks and most are doing well, but a few aren’t.  I wish I could help them more than offering advice over the phone or over coffee.

Not Pro or Con – Just Is What It Is

  • When I reflect over the last three years of my career, I haven’t read a book or attended a PD that is new meaning I’ve already been trained in it previously.  I play the game.  I read the book or attend the required training. I contribute to the conversation, but I just want more.  The special area teachers at my school are reading a Responsive Classroom book.  I love RC and I was trained and earned a certification for it four years ago.  The plus is this particular book is RC through the lens of being a special area teacher.  But as a critical reader, I question the need for the creation of the book and wonder if the company just wanted to make more money. It is essentially the same content I know how to do with examples for how you could implement this in gym or in music or in a media center. Talented educators should be able to take a training and make it applicable to their job.  On the other hand, I guess there is nothing wrong with reviewing, right?  I did sign up for a training that will take place later this year that I know a little about but haven’t been officially trained in so I’m excited about that.  I should probably write about making PD better for veteran teachers or teachers who are specialized…(adding this to my education writing topic list)

Despite the cons I mentioned, I’m glad I chose this role.  Nine years of my career has been in the secondary setting.  This role gives me more experience in the elementary setting and allows me to learn about the needs of special area teachers.

My fifth obtained license was my administration license.  At some point, I’m going to make that move.  I could have been an administrator last school year and honestly this school year, but I decided to decline those job offers.  I think my varied experiences will be another asset when I decide the time is right to transition into administration.

This is my first update.  I will give at least three more updates about being a library/media specialist before this school year ends.

Thanks for reading.  Drop questions or suggestions for my next Monday Musings in the comments.

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