Leading the Horses – Inquiry Blog #3

There seems to have been a lot more winding up this June then winding down. There have been some pretty big changes proposed for next year, and staff have been asked to come together for input. There has also been the creation of the school calendar, where all staff members have been asked for input. The latter has affected me more, as the Pro-D chair, the committee has the responsibility to propose dates for the two school-based professional development days. These things have created quite a learning experience for me. Namely, that even with all our tools of communication, having a majority of people offer their opinion and input in a timely way seems to be impossible.

As the teacher-librarian, I have sought to develop forms and modes of communication that would benefit staff, allowing them access to the library’s collection and services in convenient ways. I have put out individual, departmental and school-wide emails highlighting information. Using the option of Follett Destiny, I have created the beginnings of a professional resource collection that all staff can access. I use a booking calendar via the school intranet, as well as meeting creation through Outlook. I have presented at each of the professional development days at our school about ways in which the School Library Learning Commons could become a useful teaching resource and how the teacher-librarian could be an asset when trying new things. Let’s not forget Twitter, as it has already re-established some professional connections and I look forward to increasing discussion that will be arising from them.

Image by suju from Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons)

Heading into next year, I hope to use the inspiration of this blog to create and maintain a SLLC blog for the school. Through that, I also hope to provide tools, tricks and ideas for teachers to the learning commons for their practice. Screen casts and short videos would allow teachers to view an introductory primer about technology and ways that it could be used in education, at least enough to determine if it is something that they would like to follow up with me in person. I have been able to have a number of conversations with our Digital Literacy teachers and we are entering a planning mode for next year as to how our roles could reach the most people in the widest variety of ways. The idea of setting up a library committee comprised of teachers, parents, administrators and student has also been floated out there.

This list is by no means complete, but I am happy with it at this stage. As teachers begin to utilize these ideas, I will find paces that have been successful and put more energies toward those to expand and perfect.

While I have been reflecting on this past week and considering the introduction to this post, the question for me is less that what can I do and more along the lines of how can I encourage it to be received?

There is a part of me that suggests I avoid the heartbreak with the cliché, “you can lead a horse to water…,” but I can’t. I know how important it is that teachers change, try new things and, for the first time in a long while, we have the staffing to allow for support of those teachers. Just the same as I wouldn’t give up on a struggling student, I will continue to seek ways to engage staff and increase the numbers interested in accessing the SLLC. I will just have to find mindful ways of dealing with the “yeah, I don’t really do email” and “I don’t like filling in surveys, why didn’t you come ask me?” comments that colleagues have responded with as I’ve sought their input.

My first step, as outlined above, is to pitch a number of different things a number of different ways. As with all things, if there are ideas for supporting this, then please share.

1 comment

  1. It is so easy, especially this time of year when people are tired and there are so many things to juggle, to fall back on the cliché “you can lead a horse to water…” But I agree that we can’t accept this. It is important to explore ways to engage and support staff. Just as a classroom teacher must diversify in order to meet the needs of their learners, a TL must diversify to meet the needs of the school community. I think you have identified the best strategy for now – pitching different things in different ways in order to engage your staff in the LLC and their own Pro-D.

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