Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The TL and instructional leadership

I believe that part of my role as a teacher librarian is to be a leader.  Not necessarily a leader on staff, but more of a leader when it comes to instruction.  As a teacher's workload increases and the pace of change ramps up, my role is to try to navigate the stormy waters and ease a teacher's stress.  This is done in a few ways:

1. Reading.  Now really, that sounds like the ultimate teacher librarian line, but it is true.  I am familiar with all the learning outcomes for the subjects at my school and I read up on them as much as possible.  If I come across magazine articles or online sources that might have a curriculum tie in, I read them and pass them on to the appropriate teachers. 

2. Technology.  I try to keep up to date on web tools that are available to teachers.  I test them out, suggest them to teachers and co-teach the introductory web tool lesson.

3. Teaching.  I believe it is essential for me to keep teaching. I teach daily within my own classroom, the library, but it's also necessary to continually step back into the traditional classroom and teach.  I want to remain connected to the teacher part of my teacher librarian title. 

4. Professional development. I am constantly trying to grow as a teacher librarian. I subscribe to and read SLJ and LMC. I read professional literature. Via my Twitter PLN and numerous chats, I read about what cutting edge teacher librarians are undertaking in their libraries around the world.

A wonderful colleague of mine told me recently that one approach to management is the Management By Walking Around approach.  Initially, I scoffed but once I gave it more thought, I realized that that is my leadership approach.  I walk around the building a fair bit during the course of the day.  Walking allows me to see what it going on in the building and connect with colleagues that don't often make it up to the library.  I get to see what units teachers are currently tackling.  It is during this time that I have the most honest conversations.  All of this informs my teacher librarianship as to how I can best help teachers.

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