After reading Liz’s blog post, I thought I would just pop down some of my own ideas about the subject – ETL504 – Teacher Librarian as a Leader. As I commented on Liz’s post, when you have no experience with a particular topic, idea etc. it can be easy to form your ideas and opinions based on what is being presented to you. In this case, I am engaging in a subject called Teacher Librarian as a Leader, so my first response was to go ahead and assume that teacher librarians are leaders. However, reading Liz’s blog prompted me to ponder over this a little and consider what I have observed of Teacher Librarian’s, since I haven’t worked as one as yet.
Do I think librarians are leaders? In ETL503 and ETL401, I learnt about the importance of advocating for the role of the teacher librarian. I really hadn’t considered a librarian to be a leader before I undertook these subjects. My experience of teacher librarians suggests that they are not leaders, at least not in the schools that I have worked in. However, if we can embrace the task of advocating for our role as a TL, and embrace the opportunity to showcase and share our skills to others, perhaps we might just be recognised as leaders within our school.
I am curious to learn more about how the TL can be a leader within his/her school. While again, I have not practical or theoretical knowledge of this topic, I am confident that I will complete this subject, just like I did in my previous subjects, armed with an array of new knowledge, awareness and skills to help me move successfully and confidently into my new career as a teacher librarian.
In his article, Colvin (2000) discusses the shift in thinking about the role of people in the workforce. He discusses the theory of Taylor’s Scientific Management developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor and its contribution to work efficacy in the 20th century. He goes on to explain how this type of management system is less relevant for the 21st century, as we move from a manual labour force to one of information and knowledge.
So how does Colvin’s article relate to school libraries today? The 21st century has brought with it the ‘information age’ which sees information and knowledge as fundamental and desired skills within the workforce. Colvin (2000) calls this a ‘knowledge based economy’, which is strongly supported by the use of information. As Colvin (2000) aptly points out ‘the whole world is changing’. Those working within the information sector are well-placed to help people develop the necessary skills to be able to actively work within and contribute to this economy. School librarians and information specialists play a crucial role in ensuring that the students of today, who will become the workforce of tomorrow, are able to locate, access and use this information to engage in the participatory work culture that is both required and valued from 21st century managers.
Colvin, G. (2000). Managing in the info era. Fortune, 141(5). Retrieved from http://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2000/03/06/275231/index.htm?iid=sr-link1.
As educators, we often talk about light bulb moments. They are the moments when we can see a fundamental shift in our student’s understanding and at that moment, we can see that they understand whatever it is they are trying to master. That bright smile that moves across the face of a student when they realise that they finally understand…that smile always makes me smile, even now as I type I can’t help but smile. I love those moments. Those moments are why I entered the teaching profession and they are why I stay. As a mother, I also get to see these moments in my children and I know that I am blessed to be able to see an abundance of these moments…and often the frustration that comes before it too.
It’s easy to forget how powerful these moments can be to a child who has struggled with a concept for a while and then finally gets it, or who even makes a new discovery on their own. I was reminded this week of that feeling when I too had my own light bulb moment. My TL journey has been an interesting one and one of a mixed bag of emotions. From that feeling of elation upon being accepted into the course, to frustration and stress during the assignment writing stage. But as I’ve begun to ‘re-calibrate’ (in my lecturer’s words) and have figured out how to fit study into my already busy life, I have begun to embrace my learning with a sense of calm and purpose. It’s here in this calm that I have begun to make connections between readings, modules and subjects. These connections are allowing me to see the bigger picture instead of small, fragmented pieces that don’t fit together, like in the early stages of my study. For me, it was as simple as recognizing the name of an important document in an e-mail and instinctively knowing what that document was without having to ‘Google’ it. It’s hearing a term or a process and finally understanding what it means and how it fits into the context of the TL role. It’s reading an article and being able to resonate with it, and then wanting to read more because now I finally understand.
Despite being at the very beginning of this journey, its comforting to know that those links are finally beginning to form. The future is looking bright!