Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sicky or mental health day?

I had a bast*rd of a day yesterday, so I am sick today. Sick of working with the Shadow and her silly bloody games. I mentioned previously that I had spoken in a manner I regret and have been on edge ever since waiting to see what would come of it. In the mean time I have been trying to change my reaction to her behaviour. I've walked away from a situation, I've counted to ten and I haven't done it again. So what do I get in the meeting? A veiled attempt to accuse me of bullying and harassment. It was cleverly disguised as something for all new staff but the words she used were about the way you speak to people may be seen as bullying and you could get yourself into trouble without realising it... Um, only if someone didn't deal with it like an adult, in the open! In the meeting we also talked about the no kids in at recess policy and the Bear said it was her decison, a tech asked for clarification and it was pretty simple - no kids. The Shadow disagreed for reasons such as creating bad will (I have seen kids I've kicked out come back with a note after recess and a cheeky grin) and that it will lower usage and turn kids away (I'd like to see some stats on her usage claims). After what happened not long after I started (I'll post that some other day) I wish I'd pushed for a proper apology and not let her get away with this cr*p.

Saw some new books she'd bought on the weekend and asked the Bear about them, she sighed and said that the Shadow had photocopied the suggestion book and gone shopping, nevermind that the Bear had already bought or ordered some of them.

I'm over it and don't want to work with just her again. I need the bear to show her teeth!

Below is what I emailed to the Bear yesterday.

I will not be in to work tomorrow.

Regarding yesterday’s meeting, I would like you to know the following.

· Shadow has made it almost impossible for me to respond to her without me risking her being able to claim bullying or harassment.

· Shadow does not speak to me. Not even to tell me she was supposed to be on desk this morning.

· She puts me into difficult positions regarding the SSOs and I am in danger of compromising my principals and legal responsibilities for fear of offending her.

· I recognise that I spoke harshly to Shadow but am frustrated by her persistent failure to listen, respond to and respect others’ points of view and decisions.

· I feel intimidated and undermined by her ongoing passive/aggressive stance and as a consequence am reluctant to place myself in a position where only Shadow and I are present.

· I wish to avoid a confrontation such as the one that happened last year where she used her apology as another chance to have a go at me and there was no recognition that her behaviour was unacceptable. I cannot be expected to deal with that again and respond in a way that I can be sure she will not take it as harassment or bullying.

Paper is not dead!

Before I started this subject I was already working as a teacher librarian. I spent the first few months trying to work out what a teacher librarian should be, what they should do and how to go about it. I looked at my colleagues for examples of what to do and what not to do and decided who I would emulate. Since then, some ideas have changed, some haven't.

It is very hard to separate what I have learnt in the subject of collection management from teacher librarianship. The collection management issues that I have discovered in our library (20 May 2009) are an important aspect of the practice of teacher librarianship. It has been frustrating to learn how things should operate to get the most appropriate resources for your students and find out that whilst the library manager agrees thinks the same way another colleague works actively against it and is unwilling to change.

The professional reading I have been exposed to has given me a fresh set of standards to see my practice and that of my colleagues through. The standards of professional practice for teacher librarians (ASLA & ALIA, 2004) have given me a benchmark to measure my development against and I can see I have a long way to go. From the beginning of my time in the library I have asked questions of my colleagues and see that (for the most part) they are aware of current issues and are willing to discuss them with me. I get well thought out answers that show how our school is doing those things, or how they would if they could and are trying to make it happen. I can see evidence based practice is important to them when they make the time to explain their actions rather than give me the run around or tell me they do it because that was how it had ‘always’ been (14 March 2009).

Reading the forums frustrated me to the point where I did not read them unless I required specific information that someone else may have already asked. On each occasion I found them to be lacking the discussion I was hoping for (25 May 2009) and full of ‘I don’t know where this is’ ‘I can’t do it’ ‘Give me yours’ that I wouldn’t accept from high school students and can understand why Roy was ‘flippant’ with at least one. It really worries me when people about to become teacher librarians display behaviours like that, especially when it is in regard to technology. How are they going to teach information literacy when their own appears so poor? I find the same thing happens frequently on OZ_TLnet although there are some very interesting discussions, such as recent ones on homosexual content in school libraries and the future of teacher librarians, that make up for the other.

Understanding the place and possibilities of teacher librarians in information literacy has been an important part of my learning from this subject. Being able to look at what is missing from the programs at our campus (16 June 2009) and compare them to the possibilities I have been made aware of in the reading and the effect that they can have on increasing student learning outcomes which is one of my school’s goals. The other campus runs much better programs and we need to catch up.

The next question is how to catch up when there is no time (20 May 2009)? Since moving from a standard classroom and staffroom to the library I have noticed it is harder to make the links with other staff that are necessary collaboration. What I have read rings true when I find it is easier to try new things with teachers I have worked with before and feel I need to work on creating that kind of relationship with more teachers but breaking the isolation of the library is difficult.

In the end I now have a clear idea of what a librarian should be and what I still need to learn to be a better one. One last thing I have learned from this subject is that paper is not dead! Paper is portable in a way that online materials, even with downloading and using a tiny net book, can’t be. I can take printed study material to the footy and read them on the train and before the siren just as I could (and often do) with a book. When there is a cheap, recyclable, renewable, flexible, durable method of viewing digital material, I’ll be all for it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

SATIREday... I wish

Can you add in an essay...

This is really a no brainer that everyone would have to say yes yes of course we do that. Hmm... if you not committed you may as well not be there, but how many jaded ‘libearians’ are going to A) read it, B) think ‘oh I can’t be bothered with doing that stuff any more’ and C) retire or find a new profession. Methinks, not enough.

Probably not.

Forgot to put in for Friday about the 10 minutes or so the Bear and I spent brainstorming library uses of wordle. The question was put to us by Sugar (coz she’s so sweet). Ideas we’d like to try include genre brainstorms, specific books, research topics – science units, geography, history, sports...

In teaching it would be a great way of visualising student knowledge, perhaps before and after a topic. Splitting them into groups of 6 to 8 would give enough words for the common themes to be writ large and clear.

The blog that is nonsense that I have on a ning can be back posted. I like that. [Ning being a site where you can create your own social networking sites. We’re using it for an in school PD thing. It has lots of potential.]

On a personal note I can’t wait for Sunday to be over! Solstice is a big day for me. I love knowing each day is getting lighter and summer is coming.

This week I...

MONDAY... it must have been as it is Tuesday today. I got my first confirmed hit on the after Twilight display I put up. A student wanted to reserve a book they had seen on the display board and it wasn’t on the shelf. ‘Um... Harris. With the face and the blood dripping.’ Am Happy.

Will add a photo soon... er or later.

Have told myself no reading novels until my uni work is finished and out of the way. Am just under an average of 2 per week since school went back.


Started building another blog but a professional one, one I can put my name to and have more interesting pictures on. I will keep this one for personal reflection and whinging.

WEDNESDAY did the reading the net lesson with a year 10 group on the other campus. Worked really well. Spent some time chatting with a group of girls who wanted to finish and read a book. After they did the survey I put them on to FML a life experiences website that some year 9s we into last time I did this lesson. It is very entertaining and makes you feel better about your own life. It’s not appropriate for juniors and can be sorted to show just those with sexual content (which they did, of course!) but all three were crowded around the computer reading and laughing. It felt good to have engaged them.


Doing ok this week. I just walked out at recess when I tried to get students to leave and the shadow had given them permission to be there and gave all their excuses. Grrr. I am going to try to have more morning tea times in the staff room. It might help the growing feeling of isolation. I was actually scared to go to work today, worried that the things I'd said that the Bear had backed up would result in another unprofessional blow up from the Shadow.

Had an English teacher comment that the After Twilight display looks good and is useful for the kids. It isn’t as pretty as I’d like coz I had a brain fade and forgot the backing paper. I may get around to it one arvo next week after my assignment is finished. There are usually some of the titles shown or similar under the display but I have to move pretty fast to replace them, if there are any still on the shelves.


Lifelong learning... sometimes it starts with me saying ‘no, you can’t have a piece of blank paper. You are in year 9 and need to be more organised. Think of a way around it. Print yourself a sheet of blank paper.’ Some kids genuinely think we are the school stationary store, where everything is free. The looks I get when I tell them they need to get something for themselves is amazing! I remember when* I was at school I had a few sheets of blank paper in my folder in case, I’d go to the newsagents with my parents to buy big sheets of coloured paper or card for projects. You wouldn’t dare ask the library. Kids these days* expect everything handed to them with no effort on their parts.

We are going to try the carrot with use of student cards for borrowing. On our side we have lost the habit of this and the kids know it. If the other campus can manage it, so can we. So, pinching ideas from other places to do with encouraging reading we are going to run a competition where each borrowed book with student card gets you an entry. Prizes will be a bit random (as suggested somewhere else good stuff and a toothbrush or similar) and lucky dip. Will try for a big ad campaign!

The Bear told me all sorts of things that the Shadow has been doing but not bothered to tell me about. Nothing big, just library stuff that I could do with knowing about. We are having a meeting next week, with the Bear running the agenda and the comment on the email “there will not be time for extensive discussion”. This will be interesting.

*Proof I am getting old and grumpy. Maybe the library IS the right spot for me!

Need some pseudonyms for the other people I work with...

Technicians- Speedy, Bee (as in queen bee or wannabe)... there's 2 out of 6...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stuff from last week! (or maybe the week before...)

Yesterday (probably about two weeks ago now...) at the other campus it was interesting working with the librarian there and watching her take PIP classes. PIP is a Personal Investigation Project. It includes a series of lessons where students are taught question formulation, research skills, internet analysis etc. The two campuses are very different in the way information literacy is taught, our side seems to have lost the plot. Staff changes and the Shadow continuing to do the things she’s always done have left the staff disconnected with the library. The Shadow has some good ideas, that may work or have worked at other schools but the way she puts them to teachers or expects them to do as she wants can be really off putting. Make is big in her vocabulary. Make the students do this or do it this way. Make the teachers... as if!

A couple of days after this I was having lunch when the ‘Educators’ and the head of PD were havi ng an informal meeting about teaching info literacy. PD for teachers, standard design for assignment sheets etc. So I butted in and said count us in! We (in the library) need to be involved in this. The energy in the conversation went up a notch or two. Linking library bookings to teaching information skills would work really well, especially if the expectation was coming from up on high. It would make a big change from teachers bringing their class in to the computer area, letting them ‘research’ whilst hiding behind their own lap top. Explicit teaching of the skills required to find information is so important. So with any luck, we’ll have some help with that.

I went to a conference on Saturday. It was a half day on a Saturday morning. I was still half asleep! ALIA Schools in Victoria put on one a term apparently and usually the same people go each time (I was noticeably new and not just because I was under 50, had a motor bike, funny hair cut and stand about a head taller than most of the little people there). The first speaker was from Wesley. Here’s the page but the link to the main speaker isn’t up yet and some of my notes are related to slides in her presentation.

The big things I noticed were that you need to be a team to make change happen in your school. That brain research says uninterrupted reading sessions develop a different part of your brain to skimming and hunting for info on the net. She mentioned the article Is google making us stupid I still haven’t got around to finishing it. I keep getting distracted! At her school they have a series of lesson plans that run in the library program and the teachers can opt in. Some teachers come every week, let us do our thing, work with us. Some don’t.

The second bit was a workshop where we worked on ideas for book week. Great to start thinking about it early. The third thing was an author talk that was interesting but put me to sleep.

THE NEXT WEEK... (I think? It’s all becoming a blur)
Something that came up with our PD guy was models like the Big 6 and the e5. e5 is the Victorian governments teaching model of the moment. The bear and I compared the models to see how they fit together. They fit quite nicely, so your instruction could involve teaching the information skills necessary. Instructional model for information literacy, a combined e5 and big 6...?

Maybe that was Friday... Tuesday I had book club and we did a wordle about book club. All the students were given a piece of paper to write down all the words they could think of to do with the library and book club and a warm milo to help the thinking process. One student typed all the responses into wordle (check it out at wordle.net) and I played around with the output – see below. I showed them some of the them and they want copies. It worked really well as a short activity. I’d like them on t-shirts.

Thursday’s are never good. I dislike working with just the Shadow and I. Things that have been working fine, from decisions made at the end of last year are suddenly changed back to the way they were, without a word to me and always done through the technicians. It has been worse in the last couple of weeks whilst I’ve been ill and away a few days – a great excuse to change things with me not there... but none of that was what made me angry.

At recess I come back in after passing the Shadow in the courtyard outside the library. There are kids in the library. I attempt to kick them out as we are closed at recess and there was no teacher supervising them until I came in. Apparently they had been given permission by the Shadow, who had then left them. When the Shadow got back one of the technicians asked for clarification as to what is a good reason that the students might have to let us break the closed at recess rule. The Shadow couldn’t answer decently and I said they can’t be in here without a teacher. It’s not allowed, you would not be legally covered if anything happened. The Shadow says it’s fine, I let them in, I’m responsible for them even if I’m not here. Really, that’s not the point! She may be the one to face court but who has to deal with the situation? The technicians - who are not paid enough or legally obliged to deal with the situation that is made possible by the Shadow. That is not fair and they do not feel they can say no to her. I didn’t say anything I regret but my tone of voice may have been a bit harsh because it is something I feel very strongly about. The Shadow and I agreed to disagree and discuss the recess rules (and the way I speak to the Shadow!) with the Bear. I overhear her making it my problem by saying to one of the techs that she is just doing what she has always done and what was done before I came.
A very tense day.

...is a marking/report writing day (no kids!) and one that the Shadow doesn’t work. Eventually I bring the situation that occurred on Thursday up with the Bear. I say I got a bit angry. She sighs but agrees with me (I have brought it up before now) and says she has spoken to the Shadow about it before. One of the techs who has been there longer than any of us says we have always been closed at recesses with no excuses for kids. Before my time!

My main work on Friday was attempting some sort of collection evaluation. I spent ages trying to massage the data out of Bibliotech and make it useable. I tried for number of books, circulation and average age by Dewey. I did ok with number of books and circulation data but still need to make a phone call to find out how to get the age data out. Nothing we tried seemed to work. The data was interesting in places. I then tried to do a similar thing with book tubs that we have made up in the past from the list on BookIt. That didn’t work so well as there are less concrete ways to search and no descriptors of what the teacher was actually wanting to be covered by the box. I think we will have to make that sort of data collection an ongoing thing.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

What the?


Hi All,

R said we could support English by providing supplementary reading lists for books chosen, especially mentioned Town- so books related to small town life like Broken Glass- will also meet need to structure WR classes which may be addressed more favourably under F


Email from the Shadow to all TLs at our school. I am sick but I still think it needs a professional translator... It starts off ok but lost the plot completely in the second half. I think the Bear was at the same meeting and may be able to provide a translation...

Home sick in front of the fire with the cat today. Also a bit achey from falling off my motorbike on the way home from the docs. Truck in front braked and I braked too hard, locked up the front wheel and dropped the bike. No major damage to me or the bike. Broken mirror for the bike (which judging by the scratches had done this sliding alone the road thing before!) and a sore shoulder muscle where I landed on it and the opposite neck muscle probably from keeping my head off the ground. It was a very low speed slide but I’m happy to say the gear did its job and all was left with was some scuff marks on the leather jacket, gloves and boots and my draggin jeans are a bit roughed up on the seams. I’d hate to do that in office clothes or shorts, t and thongs ! Those people are mad!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Library Lady

I just got asked if people like me, a ‘library lady’ were actually teachers, did we get paid the same, was everyone in the library a teacher?

This was a kid in my home group! Talking to younger kids I’d taught math and science to last year.
I wonder what is going through their heads some times.

I suspect what they want to know is who can get them in the most trouble and who they can push their luck with. I told them that we were teachers and paid as teachers. He wanted to know if everyone in the library was a teacher. I told him no, some of them are like the office ladies and just as grumpy!

I also got my first bit of gum today in my little bin. Remember Itty Bitty Bins from the 80’s? It’s a cute blue one with a capacity of about 500mLs. I reckon I can fill it with used gum before the end of the year. How gross is that!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Things that annoy me: A rant!

I like to think of ways to make things better rather than just complain...

Something like elluminate can be used as it has been by the department of ed in Victoria to run online tutorials with voice and typed messaging available, speakers notes can be annotated by the speaker and live questions answered with all of it being recorded for those unable to be here. Check out some of the previous free recordings here.

This would be of more assistance than the useless forums that are not moderated or led by the tutor/lecturers. They have been from the start a place for anxious fretting and whinging, with little discussion of actual topics. When a student mentioned this in one forum the response was inadequate. Just like in a face to face tutorial, conversations need to be kept on track and an idea given of what the teacher is thinking – that means that essays are not such a case of ‘guess what the teacher is thinking’ and that the teachers need to be online in these forums more often, directing not just answering questions.

The requirement to set up a blog rather than being required to post to forums suggests that those running the courses couldn’t put in the time to manage the forums if students really used them for their correct purpose. The worried posts about blogs suggest that the course is pitched to older teachers wanting a change of ‘career’ for the last 10 years of their teaching life, who have to learn the farce that is ‘web 2.0’ from scratch**. People who can be fooled that a podcast and a forum are high tech and giving you better teaching. Same stuff, different bucket.

Ah, essays... first we are being ripped off by having to hand in assignments before the 13 weeks of study is over. I guess this is convenient for the lecturers and markers but highly unfair as there is very little turn around time between one assignment and the next. If the response to your first essay is inadequate and then the lecturers do not respond to that, how much time does it give you to get back on track and do a good enough job on the next one to pass? I’ll let you know when they get back to me! My friend doing the same course has waited over a week now for a response to her questions (our marks were 2 points different) and the lecturer has repeatedly said they will call and haven’t. We have busy lives too and think it would be respectful to actually schedule a time and make it happen.

Just for an example here are a couple of pics...
One is an essay that I wrote for my dip ed. It wasn’t very good – being a pass grade only subject I didn’t care a whole lot – but look at the level of feedback! Yes a little excessive but plenty of help to improve in a distance ed subject where you don’t have direct contact with the lecturer. The second is what I got back on an essay where I passed by 0.5 of a mark! I got a general response on the front page that included “Use readings and text” Text being double underlined. I would have got a bad mark in anything I did in undergrad study if I had not gone further than the text and readings. To then find inside that nothing is commented on except punctuation and referencing gives me very little to understand where I am getting it wrong. I'd expect that on a 80+% assignment.

I just don’t get it.
In my ‘scholarly paper’ for the other subject I failed miserably. The comments tell me all the things I should have done – that they were expecting but these related to the rubric not the question. I have always answered the question, am I supposed to write to the marking instead. Apparently. The phrase I found really galling was “At this level of study...”. At a masters level course I would expect to go beyond the readings and text not to regurgitate what is in them (as appears to be needed to pass), to take one aspect and expand on it. At this level is a ridiculous statement to make when there are different requirements for any course one does. These should be articulated not left to the expectation that it is understood – “at this level”. Specifically because what the marker was commenting on was ownership and voice used. I have other post grad papers that have been marked down for the very thing they think is expected “At this level”! Do things change so much at a Masters?

In reading what was expected the real question they should have asked was

Is your school (or the school you know*) an information literate school community? How could you as a librarian make it one?

This would give the opportunity to define and then have an opinion using your voice and give a range of problems and ways to solve them. Focusing on one problem as the question asked has led my marker to believe that I do not know the difference between information literacy and information technology skills. I disagree with that but if the marker doesn’t like the focus of your one problem, you are stuffed.

I also thought the comment that I didn’t “...demonstrate and understanding of the unique skills that the teacher librarian has to contribute...” was a bit rich considering at this point in time I do not believe that TLs have “unique” skills. I haven’t seen anything in my readings or practice that suggest that there aren’t others in the school who can do the same. The difference is the position we are in to deliver, organise, and see the big picture of what is going on with the school’s information needs. It comes past you every day. The conversations you have with frustrated teachers at the circulation desk, the rushed requests, the books tubs created, the classes that come in to the library, their wants, needs and how the teachers are using the library, the reasons why students are sent to the library in class time – all give us in the library a view of how and why both teachers and students are using the library and the information within it. Unique skills? Nup. [This has also been an interesting thread on oztl_net called what we teach and what we do]

The one good thing I got out of that essay was an introduction to Diigo – a social bookmarking site. I am trying to starting it with a year 9 class doing research on social issues important to them as it will give an opportunity to discuss the value of the sites they are using and the use of information from the internet – something that is sorely lacking in most research assignments set. In bookmarking they have to use the URL of the page. I know that sounds simple, but last year I had year 9s giving me science research with www.google.com and www.yahoo.com as references! If only I could get them some time in a computer room to teach it – I may try using a projector to teach it and see if they’ll do some at home then discuss postings to the site after...

Yep, I spent the time since the last post writing this thinking if I got it out, perhaps I could find the focus to continue with my uni work. I’ll post, turn off the computer and probably do something other than read n write.

Ah well, it’s hard to go on without answers.

*because this is entry level TL, but incredibly biased to teachers working in libraries already...** I wonder if that is because the NSW government is giving the uni lots of money to give their teachers a basic grounding in what they should be doing and make sure they pass by making it colour by numbers (or write to marking criteria, never mind the question).


...are a nocturnal toad. Hidden in the DDC 21!

I had an interesting time working with a lib tech to find the right spot in the Dewey for a series of DVDs on the history of NASA. She asked... do they go in Space engineering – yes, space science – yes, space exploration – yes, space flight – yes, and so on until Spadefoots. They sounded cool! So I whacked it in google (like anyone around my age or younger would do) and it turns out they are toads. Anyhow we put it in a general space type spot in the applied sciences of the 600s*. We were getting close to this decision when the Bear came up to see what we were up to and we found the spot and she agreed. This is what being a librarian is about, getting the resources in the spot that most people will be able to find them in, making them accessible. The Bear can tell you what Dewey area you want without looking it up (a surprisingly large amount of people who don’t know me in the school seem to think I can do this too – not yet) but the Shadow can’t even catalogue and won’t check the work done by the techs.

What kind of librarian do I want to be? I want to be able to do the important stuff, the things the Shadow seems incapable of. She has been a TL for 4 years, meaning modern training has made her TL without much L! At the other campus library the TL was librarian first including experience in a business library. She and the Bear are the people who think like I do, logically with an eye to the users needs, not what we think they should do. They are the librarian I want to be. Considering the current difficulties I am having with the distance ed uni course (will post again when not so red hot and angry) I am thinking of doing a local Info Tech Grad Dip, to learn the important bits of being a librarian.

It’s nearly 12. I’ve taken a day off work to do uni stuff but my mind is still roaring with unanswered questions with no response from the uni. Grrr.

*I have forgotten exactly where we decided to put it in in the end, but remember it ended in .4, So what have I done googled Dewey decimal and gone for the wiki page rather than the official DDC site. Wiki was more helpful in the end.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Woo Hoo!

Most blog posts in 3 YEARS!

Don't reckon I'll reach the heights of 2006 with over 92 though...
Although it's only May...

Procrastinating... II

These have been collected from various word documents, often labelled ‘blog bits’, which are truncated thoughts or starts of blog posts I intended to make. They would have each been much longer if I didn’t have to work... didn’t get distracted by students and teachers... wasn’t worried about losing myself in the land of blog again... actually felt like turning my computer on again once I got home...

I could have started another blog using a program that allows me choose the date of the entry and backdated them all so I look as regular as prunes for brekkie, but one day I want to write a really professional blog. This is a personal blog because a lot of my reflections contain a large amount of whinge and whine (or perhaps more honestly, bitch and moan). I have to learn to cut that out before I can put my name and school to it!
So here they are...

Yesterday I had a conversation that included something I’d read for uni. It’s good to feel that despite me not having done much yet, it had already proved useful (and with any luck will be a motivator to do more…).

The conversation was with a teacher of technology and our head librarian-resource manager-all round good guy (brain says Mama Bear... so maybe henceforth just the Bear) about the misinformation kids get from things like Ask Yahoo!

We have odd purchasing habits. We buy things from booksellers, and completely ad hoc as the requested by students or teachers or recommended by random staff at major booksellers such as Dymocks. The person doing this buying will buy (or not, in the case of The Watchmen) based on their recommendations on their weekend shopping trip and then the money is gone, often to doubles of books we already have. The state library put out a list of books that teens may like if they enjoyed Twilight. The Bear and I discussed the list, themes, links and found which we had in our collection. The Shadow came back with something the sales person had told her was the book “you had to read next after Twilight”. Yep, it was on the list and we already had it and a request from a student to buy the sequels. There has got to be a better way of doing things. There are better ways of doing things but how do we make them happen here?
I read the proper way, I work with a very experienced librarian who knows the right way but is as new to this library as me and one person’s habits to change. So I handball. It’s the Bear’s problem as leader of this ship not mine.

Working on using Diigo with a couple of classes doing research. I am trying to get the hang of it so I can guide teachers who are a little technophobic... technobackward? Techno... I need a term for when teachers just don’t have time to explore the new technologies that are out there. So I guess that’s part of being a Librarian in a school.

Too much to do. I want to re do the library website, but the time I have gets eaten by the little things that constantly need doing in a library. To paraphrase Basil Faulty, this Library would run a lot better without the students (or more probably the teachers). I want, at least my wide reading classes to do some digital reading. But they are not “my” classes and I have to find a teacher not only willing to give it a go but happy to say when? not someday.

Bear taught me about manipulating the database of the library catalogue to tell me what I wanted to know. I thought there must be an easier way, but apparently no longer with the beast that is BiblioTech. It also showed me more of what she does when she checks the cataloguing done by the technicians. Too much to explain succinctly, but it were good. I can see how some things that may seem fiddly or unimportant in cataloguing can actually make life much easier later on. I am not sure that I will learn that sort of practical management of resources in this course, but sometimes it helps me to ask the right questions of the bear to find out what I really need to know.

During book club one of the students told me that she was stressed because the chemist wouldn’t give her the morning after pill without her parents knowing (because of the side effects) and her Mum would kill her, but she wanted to do the responsible thing and deal with in now, not in a month... Her teacher in the next period noticed and moved to deal with the issue. I spoke to her this morning in the Library and things are being sorted. Her Dad was ok about it and mum never needs to know. ...and I was worried I wouldn’t get to know the kids the same way as in the classroom.

Finally got around to reading the comments on my first assignment, just to check there was nothing wrong with the bit I needed to reuse for the next one. I can accept constructive criticism, and accept that I didn’t really understand what was required but the comments on my references I think were a little unfair. The uni recommends and encourages use of EndNote, which is pretty simple to get the right bits in the right feilds. EndNote puts out a reference that the marker doesn’t think is correct – who is right? I’d put my money on EndNote. I also got marked down for providing the list of required/recommended resources in the appendix as the Victorian Government supplied them to me. If they don’t provide complete references, especially for websites, how am I to give the correct ones!?! The reason you provide a date of access is to deal with changes to online information that is not adequately archived. If the government does not give correct references I cannot be sure that I am truly using the same site information as they were. So am I supposed to give something that is not true? Riddle me that!

...and! They mark you down for not referencing the text and readings. How backwards is that! In everything else I’ve done you’d get marked down for relying on the background material and not looking further afield. The fact that you have done the required reading should be obvious from the way you approach the subject (having been useful/powerful enough to influence) and not require direct quotes and references. I guess I have to do it differently to pass this!

Ran another year 9 wide reading class today on reading the net. The kids didn’t get it, couldn’t see the purpose and couldn’t settle. Period 6. My ratbag homegroup. Am going to try the same thing with 2 year 10 classes (1 sports academy) over at the east in the next month – yep, I am lucky enough to be able to override the booking system to get myself computer access eventually! It will be interesting to compare them. Working the data in excel is not simple – it doesn’t like qualitative stuff and I haven’t got time to think of a way to rewrite the survey.

Going to a conference (half day on a Saturday !) next week on reading online, hope to get some good ideas even if I have to be there at 0830! Grrr.

Now I'm up to date and off to bed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I am so excited! This is the first time I have ever got a first ribbon at any school athletic event ever! Swimming, plenty. Aths, never!

I came first in Staff Discus for Ladies(!). I faulted on my first throw, got 12.4m on my 2nd (which would have won it by 20cm anyway) and in a terribly inelegant third throw piffed it 15.5m! Ok, there were only 3 of us, but I still came first. I may even wear the ribbon for the rest of the week!

I am writing this between drafts of my essay that is due today... I got into work really early and worked on the draft for a bit. I printed it and took it to aths with me to edit pen and paper style (Ok, I took my lap top too in case I got time to edit it before I had to supervise events). So, i'm sitting up in the stands next to some year 9 boys I taught science to last year. They wanted to know what I was doing, so we had a chat about me being (or trying to be) a librarian and what I had to do to become one. After that if was staring into space or watching the races they boys would tell me to get back to work. When I came back from a quick pit stop they told me to get back to work. They asked if I was finished yet. They told me I was doing working well and doing good work. It was a VERY interesting experience to have all the words you use in the classroom given back to you. I think they rather enjoyed it (as did I) and I guess I got to model some good learning behaviours.

I got a little of it edited on the computer and have finished that draft now... so as it is printed now I should be back to work... sigh.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Still procrastinating... Been reading for my latest assignment and my mind is whirrrrring at a standstill and I think it may go BOP! when it stops...

So many things I read and want to do but can’t right away. Even when the literature says changes needs to be planned on a 3 -5 year scale I want it now! When the lit says you need a good interface to direct students to digital information I think, I know but I can’t do it in one day! I have to learn how to make it right, negotiate with other staff and then make it work... at least Mama Bear (our ‘Resource Centre Manager’) also thinks it’s a priority and is moving some of my more clerical tasks (cataloguing periodicals) back to our technicians to give me time to get working on it.

We bought a digital book at the end of last term. We got a hard copy as well which was a bit dull but came with free digital book that should be very clear and clean to read online. At the other campus they were one for one against but the one against had the final say. The rep came to us when it was me and the Shadow, but we could agree to disagree and leave the decision to Mama Bear. I think it will be a great leap forward for the library.

I think I leave all my study til the last minute because I would be too excited and frustrated to do little bits every week! Better get the brain back to ZIP!

(Apologies to the writers of the song ‘The Marvellous Toy’)

In next week’s thrilling episode remind me to ramble my thoughts about policy and process...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

li-bearians v Librarians

I’ve been a fake TL for over half a year now. The question yet again in my teaching career has come back to who do I want to be as a teacher or in the current circumstances who do I want to be as a teacher librarian?

On Friday I shaved my head bar a wee Mohawk (Beckham style – there is even a blog devoted to his hair and it was here I found the picture to guide those with the shaver in hand) for Shave for a cure. So, I have totally blown the stuffy librarian role which is just as well considering I never wear skirts, let alone a twin set to work (pearls, one day, maybe).

The thing that blew me away was how excited the students were and how quickly word of mouth was travelling. Random yr 7s popping in to the library to ask if I was really going to do it, a year 10 girl gave me $10 – not just promised, but handed over the cash! Next week when the kids get to see it will be more interesting.

As will the reaction of staff. My theory with hair has always been that I don’t really care because a) I can’t see it and b) it grows back soon enough. I will be especially interested to see the reaction of one of my library colleagues who I shall dub here Mrs Shadow. I don’t think she’s been paying attention to conversation around her (nothing new there) and it will come as a shock. She’ll most likely have an opinion on how a teacher should look at school too but nothing she’ll say to my face.

I realised something on Friday, I wanna be King of the Kids! I want to be a person they like enough to chat with, an adult they can trust, a person they can have fun with, joke with, someone they take seriously and respect. I don’t need to be cool, I want to show them that they can be themselves (my example is a bit weird and kooky) and still be liked. That being themselves is the best they can be.

Last year I fell into supervising a circus skills class for girls in yrs 8&9, this year I have joined the year 7 band again after 20+ years. I am lucky our head librarian encourages these possibilities as well as taking sport teams to competition and camps. They have been great for getting to know the kids.

I want to be a Librarian not a li-bearian. What’s the difference? I see everything I don’t want to be wrapped up in the mispronunciation label of li-bearian. They are great shaggy ancient bear types who go shh… who can’t help you do the simplest thing on a library computer or know the quirks in the system well enough to tell you how to get around them… who aren’t really in a school library for the kids… who want the kids to change - be “good”, be more academic, work harder, be less sporty…who don’t read adolescent fiction… who are about their power over students rather than their power to help… who think the teachers come first… who can’t say no… li-bearians think they couldn’t possibly – what? It doesn’t matter as long as they think they can’t do it, learn it or make it happen.

li-bearians are show.

Librarians are substance.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Phase 3!

After a year without blogging, it is time to get back on the horse. For the most part it is because I have to, and as such may change the character of this blog.

So, between then and now I have...

Taught 7s, 8s, 9s and 11s math and science
Been to year 7 camp twice
Had good days and bad (the bad includes bits of heart on the science room ceiling!)
Made some good new friends in teaching
Kept in touch with people from my previous school (although many seem to be leaving...)
Put my hand up for a try out in the school library (along with 5 others)
Spent half of last year finding my feet in yet another area I'm not trained for
Loved being a (fake) librarian
Found that Libraries are more like working in an office than classroom teaching (office politics and personality clashes)
Started learning to ride a motorbike
Began an MEd in Teacher Librarianship

So for my MEd I have to write a blog reflecting on my learning, thoughts and all that stuff. So, things may change a little...