Results of Time Study:
I was putting in a lot of over time for very little reward so when I read Purcell’s article the idea of completing a Time Study appealed. I wasn’t enjoying my role as TL and thought that the expectations of fulfilling all the required duties insurmountable.
The first day I laid out my record table in slots of 30 minutes thinking I would never fill 15 minute slots but after one day I soon realized that I needed 15 minute blocks of time to accurately record the many different tasks I performed daily. As I progressed through the study I continually made changes to how I organised my day. I knew that I was not spending enough time researching my own lessons. I am timetabled to teach each of the thirteen classes in my school for one hour every week. I was barely managing one hour to research and plan for all classes. Hence my effectiveness as a TL was failing. I was feeling deflated and wasn’t enjoying teaching but with all the other demands on me I didn’t know where to rescue hours to put into effective planning. The more I read as a part of my studies the more I realised that ‘Teaching and Learning’ are central to a Teacher Librarian’s role. It became clear to me that I needed to reprioritise.
I also noticed that as an instructional partner I was giving only to my fellow teachers but not fulfilling the need as Purcell cites to ‘translate curricular needs into library media program goals and objectives’ for my own lessons. I realised that even though Purcell recommends as a part of being a Leader one should participate in professional organisations and contribute to listservs I do not have the expertise or the time to do this so at this point. I will start small by participating in school committees and Professional Learning Teams twice a week.
My biggest shift in thinking has happened in Program Administrator I couldn’t believe how much time I was spending on this. I examined this further to clarify why it was so time consuming. Students and teachers do not know how to use the catalogue and books were not replaced on the correct shelf due to poor signage and a confusing layout. I was spending needless time and energy locating ‘hidden’ resources. I was also noting discrepancies in how books were catalogued. The same book would be located in two different locations depending on who catalogued it. Some autobiographies were classified as fiction and others as nonfiction. Literature Circle books were not classified on the database with this tag including reading age appropriateness so teachers were continually coming to me for advice. The task of rectifying all these issues seemed onerous and I didn’t know where to begin! I have since prioritised the Literature Circles and have made a positive start to sorting this issue. However due to budget constraints on acquiring new shelving the task of sorting the fiction and nonfiction collections will have to wait a little longer. I hope to teach the teachers next week how to use the catalogue effectively. Here’s hoping!!
Information Specialist – As we have an IT person 2 days a week, there has been some conflict of interests and also lack of knowing what is expected in our respective roles. This will need to be addressed by a meeting with the principal sooner rather than later to improve effectiveness. I also found it difficult to analyse when I was being a true information specialist it was so entwined with who I was as a teacher. I was teaching information literacy but on reflection I wasn’t providing enough guidance in the use of technology but rather I was getting caught up with the ‘whizz bang’ effect of engaging the learners. I wasn’t being explicit about promoting critical thinking about its use. It is an area I feel the least confident. I need to further my understanding of this topic and role and increase its active time.
Repercussions of Change!
I changed the layout of the library. Almost immediately I began to enjoy my lessons, the students loved the new look. I moved the couches and new book carousel so they were the first thing you saw when you came into the library and placed the desks in front of the Smartboard to facilitate instruction. I noticed students spread out more easily during collaborative activities, some going to the computers and more students sitting at the couches reading books. I attended a Professional Development day and met other TLs. It was here I heard about book trailers so I got my Year 6 Library leaders to download the ones they liked and put them on for students to watch in the morning before school. I am also in the middle of implementing Prep – 6 Paired Reading program. My attitude is positively rejuvenated and this has been passed on to the students. We are all enjoying the library again. Now that I am finding a better balance I am determined to improve the quality of my teaching in Library classes, particularly in the areas of needs assessment and goal setting for Information Literacy.