The more I read the more my understanding change. This week I have learned that a vital aspect of the teacher librarian’s role is collaboration. That’s why I have coined this portmanteau – Collaborarian! I initially thought my position as English leader Prep -6 would help me be a more effective librarian but now I realise that it is the other way around.
I love the concept of collaboration but I never reflected on the diversity of its meaning or implications. I love to work as a part of a team and like Todd Gilman says in his article Four Habits of an Effective Librarian, all goes well until someone doesn’t agree or is unhappy with the direction a member wants to take the planning. My understanding of compromise was also skewed. I usually relented and felt silently aggrieved and let the dominant member do what they wanted. I never knew that compromise was win:win. With an agreed outcome this becomes easier. This is why it is so important that a shared vision is created before any collaborative work begins. I also recommend jointly setting agreements on how meetings are run. If there are any grievances it can be dealt through these agreements and not personal attacks.
Collaboration for a teacher librarian has many levels. Partnership, teamwork, cooperation whatever title you give it, it all boils down to working together for the greater good. To be that pivotal hub of learning in the school, the TL must work collaboratively with all stakeholders. Where does one get the time in an already stressed timetable? However making this time is crucial and will lend itself to long lasting widespread results.
In a technological based world where students spend most of their time communicating through Smart phones. (The acquisition of one, I keep prolonging with excuses upon excuses. ) We as TLs need to collaborate with them in a joint learning venture. We need to be committed to this reciprocal learning. We learn more when we are open to it. Pretending that this form of communication is not valuable because we don’t want to expose our ignorance is futile and only reinforces the students’ conception that teachers and learning are archaic.
Students are daily authors online with uploads to their Facebook accounts, yet have no concept of its dangers or repercussions, it is our job to help them to critically analyse content and be selective in their choices. We don’t necessarily need to be experts in how Facebooks works but we need to empower the students in the process of being critical thinkers in whatever their preferred medium of communication. This mutual respect of expertise is vital.
Critical thinking is key!
Working collaboratively with the staff once meant to work with a teacher on a unit, where we both practiced our area of expertise but I now love the notion of both parties participating in both areas of expertise. This is real interdependence. In order to begin our collaborative learning journey together in my school I hope to introduce a staff blog.
I have included a mind map I created in Inspiration on the Role of Teacher librarian and I hope to refine it as I progress through the course.
I am also going to conduct a Time Study and analyse the results to see what roles and responsibilities I am performing and the percentage of time I am allocating to each. This reflective practice will hopefully lead me to identify areas of concern so I can develop strategies in order to become more effective.