Monday, 23 February 2015

Sickness and stress

I haven't posted on the blog for awhile because I have been hit with this cold bug and I've been fighting it, clearly unsuccessfully, for 3 weeks now. When I was talking to my mum on the weekend, I realized that it's one of those times of the year that I get sick. And I get really sick because of the increased stress in my life. Right now, it is course selection time.

When I was an academic classroom teacher, this time of year meant crunching numbers to determine how many sections of each grade there would be next year and thus how many blocks of English and Social Studies I would have. Very minor stress. Being married to an elective teacher, I know that course selection causes a greater amount of stress because suddenly it's not just about students in a given year, it's about how many students in that given year pick your courses. Quite stressful. As a teacher librarian, and thus a non enrolling teacher, it is another level of stress altogether. Now is when the uncomfortable conversations start about budgets for the next year and to the library what that means both in terms of teacher librarian time and budgets. It's time to start defending the library program.

Don't jump to conclusions here. I'm not a passive teacher librarian who waits to be told what next year's timetable and budget is going to look like. I spend the months leading up to timetabling keeping my administrators informed as to what is happening in the library. I create monthly reports that I talk to my administrators about. I make appointments to talk about my vision and the direction I want to take the library program.  I am quite vocal in promoting the library. I am also so very fortunate that I have colleagues who will also defend the importance of a healthy school library. And I have amazing students who constantly vote with their feet and their library cards.

But at the end of the day it comes down to the principal's decision. Here in British Columbia, the cuts to education have been deep for many years and it's just been announced that cuts will continue for the next three years as well. I understand the dilemma that administrators face in an underfunded system. That said, it is hard to not take it personally when those difficult conversations start up again.

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