The multifaceted role of a TL
The role of the teacher librarian is fulfilled in a school that believes in collaborative practice and where teachers are leaders. But many teachers see working with other teachers as a major challenge. In fact they might fight against this.
Share your thoughts about the following:
- In such circumstances what would be an appropriate response from the teacher librarian?
- From your reading so far, can you build a convincing argument for collaboration between the teacher librarian, principal and teachers at a school that you know?
My school is incredibly collaborative across our faculty teams. I belong to the English and Modern Languages faculty and we are very much a team in resourcing, planning and assessment creation. We have started using Microsoft teams this year, and it’s even better than email, in terms of communication. We chat throughout the day, share resources, share documents and ask questions; it’s proved to be very effective and has created a supportive, collegial environment. Our TL, who worked at our school and who has since retired, found that staff weren’t forthcoming in seeking help and assistance from the librarian or library staff. The library is almost isolated from the collaboration that exists amongst the teaching faculties.
In my role this year in the library, I have been engaged in some on-line training with the databases our school subscribes to. In particular, EBSCO host, which gives us access to a range of incredible resources. I am able to run reports that deliver usage statistics and unfortunately, they are very much underutilised in our school. In passing conversation I have had with some colleagues, I asked them if they were aware of how to use these resources and what their capabilities are (ie, read aloud function, translate into other languages function etc). Nobody seemed aware of what we had on offer. We had a student free day last Tuesday and I bravely put my hand up to run a session for teaching staff on our e-resources. I can’t tell you how nervous I was, and volunteering to stand in front of my peers and present is something I never, EVER, thought I would do.
But I did.
The response and feedback was overwhelmingly positive and I have had so much feedback and praise thanking me for sharing our resources because teachers didn’t even know what we had access to and what capabilities were possible with the different databases. I had 3 sessions booked with me by the end of that day to work with senior Physics and Biology classes, to provide an orientation lesson to our e-resources because they have upcoming assessment which requires a great deal of research. It felt so good to know I was able to share information and provide some insight into how I can help and assist teachers and their students. I think you just have to put yourself out there and communicate what you can bring to your colleagues and students….even if you’re terrified, like I was!