Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The year that's been

And so on Friday my first year as a full-time teacher-librarian concluded.  I wish I had blogged more frequently because now looking back on the year it just seems to be one big blur.  There were ups and downs, things I did well on and things I utterly failed with.


Absolutely my biggest failure has been to learn the names of my students. Anyone with tips and tricks - greatly appreciated.  I'm doing the "sweetie / dear" thing; and of course my students see through that - they are so perceptive.

I've learnt a lot from them. And I have more to learn. More patience, more tolerance, more differentiation, more attention to students as individuals.

What has gone well?  A few initiatives have worked, a few classes stood out as being successful - is that as much as one could ask for?  Our parents appreciated our "Library Bytes" sessions - and on the last few days quite a few parents reached out to us to find out more about our initiatives for preventing the summer slide - parents we haven't seen all year - thank-you to the teachers who nudged them in our direction.

We did really well in the Readers' Cup, with our older readers taking first prize - but was that me or was that having a few very strong individuals in the team who pulled the rest together? Or is it even about the victory or rather the parents commenting that students have noticeably "become readers" since joining the teams?

Our Blokes with Books club has been very successful - again I cannot take much credit except for making the space and opportunity available and finding the right teacher to run it for me, so all credit really goes to him. 

I've not done so well with my Keen Bean readers - part of it was the timing - during DEAR time so effectively only 10 minutes by the time they'd all arrived, part of it was the easy-come-easy-go nature of the activity with the students coming in and out, part of it was me not being structured enough with the activity.

We had quite a few author visits and those were well received - I'd like to expand on that any have more literacy / writing workshops with the authors. The groups were very big and the danger is the intimacy is lost and it becomes a "show" or "production" rather than something more personal.

Teacher PD has been an issue - not being granted the time, not forcing being granted the time, not having the confidence in my role and not understanding that there is no way rolling out a Scope and Sequence will work with students if teachers aren't on board - we needed to get buy in for that a lot earlier in the year - so that's top of the list for next year.  I don't think I'm the only TL suffering from this problem, and like many before me I do it the winning hearts and minds one by one approach. Unfortunately of course the attrition of international school teachers means some of those hearts and minds are leaving for other shores. 

Diversity and expansion of World Language books - particularly Chinese has gone relatively well.  Interestingly enough it has been the local education assistants who have noticed the increase in locally and regionally written works the most, and have expressed appreciation for this.  Increasing circulation of Chinese books and the whole Chinese literacy part of the equation now needs to be worked on. I hope part of the problem is resolved by "build it and they will come".  Having a native Chinese speaker on staff has already shown benefits.

The library 24/7 initiative has largely been spearheaded by putting a lot of effort into Libguides. They're really well frequented, particularly the main launch pad guide.  Finding a balanced compromise with the new LMS is the next phase. I've even taken some time out to learn a bit of basic HTML and CSS which has been good.

Next up - nice long vacation, starting my capstone course to finish my M.Ed and getting ready for the new year.