Friday, 7 April 2017

Hanging on by a thread

It's Friday night of the first week back after spring break and I'm nursing a sore throat but I'm still working. Next week we get information about staffing for next year and I'm apprehensive to say the least. Initial mutterings suggest that we'll get 5 new teachers on staff which will be fabulous and that library time will remain steady at 1.0 FTE. And I know it's roughly what staffing should be for the BC public school library of 2002 and I understand that I'm fortunate to have weathered the last decade in the library so well but I'm tired. I've worked very hard trying to run a cutting edge library program and feel that a 1.0 FTE is greatly under-funding the CNB library of 2017.

As I write this, it's 8:30 pm and I still have to write up my April report for my admin - we need to meet about it next week. I also have a letter I need to write, a science 8 end task to draft up for Monday, and Tuesday's virtual field trip to shop for but I'm putting those tasks off until tomorrow because I need to reflect on the day that was. It was the usual: 2 requests for book resources to be pulled as soon as possible, finalizing some station resources, a test connection for a virtual field trip, a teacher concern about mature content in a library book, 3 teachers in to chat about projects we are collaborating on, book order arriving, supervising 3 grade 7 classes in to work on the Breakout box, a teacher in to request textbooks, and students in signing out reading material. A steady stream of people all day, plus emails and phone calls to handle.

It wasn't an abnormal day and I think that's why it's bothering me, because my new sense of normal is leaving me hanging on by a thread. And with the prospect of no increase in library time, more students, more classes, and more teachers in September, I need to change how the library operates if I want to continue enjoying my job and my sanity.

I have slowly started changing the library program but it is hard, especially when people always expect you to help. My CNB colleagues understand that I work very hard but at the end of the day, I believe that they still see me as a non enrolling teacher with the luxury of spare time on my hands.

I wish.

I've started to say "no" to covering classes. I've started restricting booking to no more than three consecutive days in the library. Now I need to re-examine how and what I teach, and how and what I assess. I have 12 weeks until the end of the school year - 12 weeks to redesign my vision of the CNB library program and I can tell it's going to be hard work.

Wish me luck.



1 comment:

  1. I completely relate to your thread metaphor. The victim of your success is little comfort. I found that when success begets more demands, my working day got longer and longer. That was no solution. Despite serving an average of 1200 patrons a day, some people still thought I was 'free' to help with a multitude of things. It was my skills and know-how as much as time but colleagues still believe classroom teachers have bigger load. It's an sad dynamic when librarians work hard and strife for a strong program just to defend their existence. Now we see more hiring but I believe you are correct to assume 1FTE will be the expectation from admin. The non-enrolling nature of TL role means admin can always hold pat and lower class size elsewhere. The educational merits of your successful program just don't have the metrics in staffing process. Your own management for a healthy experience will continue to be a lonely experience. Good luck. Be assertive. Take care.

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