I can say, without a doubt, that this course was not quite what I expected. Of course, things are never as they seem, and I learned that there’s a lot more to the role of teacher-librarian than I understood from the outset of this course.
I’ve struggled with a lot of things during my first session of study. I’ve struggled to find the right balance of study and exercise, as that’s one thing that’s really “taken a hit” over the session. I’ve struggled with poorly resourced course materials – where our “academic” references were videos made by overseas library students, or are slideshows for what was most likely a riveting keynote delivered by Well-Regarded Speaker, but the slides are next to meaningless without the content of the speech.
I’ve struggled with the inconsistency between our subject coordinators – we have had the bad luck of losing our coordinator mid session, and replaced with another and the other subject had our coordinator take five weeks of sick leave in the middle of the session, and the replacements had different ideas about things, including students being marked down for following the assignment as set out in the subject outline! There’s also been subject coordinators go AWOL from the forum, one for nearly two weeks in the lead up to assignment due date.
I grappled with, and continue to grapple with the inherent privilege that seeps through every pore of the guided inquiry process, a particular pet-topic of my subject coordinator. I struggle with the disparity between how the uni speaks about our role, and how teacher-librarians are seen by school executives. My thoughts are not merely based on the anecdotal, but lived experience and research, which I’m not going to reference here.
I’ve surprised myself by realising that I am a critical thinker, as I know I can sometimes get caught up in the hype and take things at face value. I’ve been helped along this road by an incredible professional support network, mostly found on Twitter, and supported by getting involved in events and (potentially) volunteer roles within relevant organisations.
Recently, I’ve come to realise why I have had an enormous amount of trouble finding Australian teacher-librarians and librarians to follow on social media, read blogs of and so on. Many organisations actively discourage or do not permit their employees to be active on social media in this way. I understand privacy concerns and the like, but by not allowing professionals to share in this manner, we are not allowing them to grow and develop their own skills, which has to be done on their own time anyway.
During my break between sessions (which has now started for me, as all I have left of this session is a webinar and evaluation forms to fill in) I will be pursing some hobbies that have been neglected (including reading, bushwalking, theological study and cycling), continuing professional development through reading on critical librarianship and the history of some famous librarians, and some projects in the broader GLAMR field. I will post about those GLAMR readings and projects from time to time.
I am writing this post well in advance of it going live on my blog. I certainly don’t want my critical comments regarding the uni to impact on my marks and I don’t want to impact anyone else’s evaluation of our subjects.