There is a fabulous Venn diagram that floats around the internet, with no real source of attribution, which breaks group work down into a few key qualities you learn: communication, collaboration and responsibility all feature in a small sliver, and then 97% of the circle is coloured red for ‘TRUST NO ONE’. Pleasingly, group work at the postgraduate level was slightly more bearable!
While my group had to face the challenge of me (my time commitments were stretched too thin to be of much use in the collaborative phases, however I always came through on the written components), for the most part we were able to buckle down and get done what was needed. There was one person who consistently made first contact regarding the case studies, suggested ways of completing the tasks, and provided encouragement for the remainder of the group. These are all characteristics of good leadership (American Association of School Libraries, 2013) and has made me rethink a few ways I could lead better the next time I’m involved in group work (Jeffery, 2019, September 29). Our leader embodied attitudes of servant leadership, and now that I’ve been on the receiving end of that, I can see how valuable it is. Before the case studies, I thought servant leadership was very ‘wishy washy’ with its qualities including listening, empathy, healing and awareness (Crippen, 2004), but after calling August 2019 the most stressful month of my life only to find out that September 2019 was where the stress was really at, it was so nice to know that our leader behind the scenes was actually more worried about our wellbeing than our word counts. Even if she isn’t aware that she led by example in the case studies, I have definitely learnt a thing or two about the kind of leader I hope people will see me as in the future.
I can’t help but draw parallels between my arc during ETL504, and that of our Director of Information Studies, who we met and travelled with during the case studies this session. We joined our Director full of optimism at the beginning of a new adventure (Case Study Scenario), and then got walloped with poor time management right off the bat (Case Study 1) only to watch everything cascade around us until there was just nothing positive left to say (Case Study 6). Okay, so maybe not quite that drastic, but I did recognise a lot of the stress and anxiety in the final case study. In fact, it’s why I began the MEdTL in the first place; to get a change of pace, something to focus my mind on, and a good reason to leave a job I didn’t love any more. In recognising the familiarity of burnout through the case study prompts, I also heard the overwhelming message that other teachers/TLs/human beings have felt these feelings before too, and there is support out there. I have made a personal list of resources from the Case Study 6 forum that deal with self-care (such as the Craddock, 2019 article suggestion; Patterson, 2019) as ensuring that I am taken care of will influence my ability to take care of others, and lead capably and competently without being a detriment to myself.
American Association of School Librarians. (2013). Empowering Learners [American Library Association version]. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/detail.action?docID=1342650
Craddock, I. (2019, July 8). Self-care tips for school librarians. School Library Journal. Retrieved from https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=Self-Care-for-School-Librarians
Crippen, C. (2004). Servant-leadership as an effective model for educational leadership and management: First to serve, then to lead. Management in Education, 18(5), 11-16. doi: 10.1177/089202060501800503
Patterson, E. (2019, September 22). Case study 6 group 8 [Online discussion comment]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library Interact 2 website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_42385_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_78888_1&forum_id=_164187_1&message_id=_2501479_1