Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My year in review: reflections on a school year

Having always been on a school schedule my entire life (my mom is a teacher; I went from being in school to being in college, to teaching by the time I was 21.  One of my children was born in August, the other *you guessed it* was born in May!), I think in terms of school years all the time.  January is always the middle of my year, signaling the beginning of spring semester in my mind. And so, that is how I've come to write my year-end reflections at the beginning of June. 

I happened upon another blog site this morning while going through the Teacher's Write blog posts.  The Life of a Conflicted Teacher posted about his year, and while I usually do reflect, I've never really blogged about it.  

Seems silly, doesn't it?  So here I am...thanks to Conflicted, ready to write my reflections.  

What went well:
  1. I feel great about the events I planned over the past year.  Teen Read Week was awesome---included the Ellen Trout Zoo educational folks, an author/story-teller/singer, murder mysteries, and several contests.  Our author visit with Neal Shusterman was fantastic, and taking teens to the TT4L day at the TLA library conference was amazing.  
  2. Circulation was up.  Loads of kids checking out books----what could be better than that? 
  3. I have, in particular, a few lessons that I thought really clicked with my kids this year.  Teaching all our 8th graders about Norse mythology and a bit about Viking culture was a real highlight for me.  When you have this age kiddo coming up to you and thanking you for your lesson because they really enjoyed it and learned a lot -- that's high praise!  I had so much FUN with this, too.  And...for YEARS I've wanted to work with kids on a genealogy project---finally got to do this, too, thanks to an awesome history teacher (and friend) who gave me the opportunity this year.  The kids had a great time and we all learned a lot.  There's even interest in me creating a genealogy club next year!
  4. I got brave, and took the plunge into genre-fying the Fiction side of the library.  It's a bit overwhelming to think about the amount of work in finishing this project (deep breaths, here) but I believe the payoff will be enormous.  Every kid I polled said this would be a fantastic change because it would help them find what they want in the library.  Ultimately, that's what sold me on it.  
Needing improvement:
  1. With no longer having an aide, I've had a real learning curve this year on getting everything done in the library that needs to be done.  We made it through, but some tweaks definitely must be made for next year.  I need to take more training time for the students that will assist me, for one thing.  
  2. Finding a way to get everyone in the library.  I would love to have every subject area feel that it is "their" place rather than "just Language Arts" and I really want to offer book clubs, etc. again.  It is a time-management not spreading-myself-too-thin issue, but there MUST be a way to work around the obstacles to have this happen.  Totally unwilling to give up on this----just need to figure it out.  
  3. Time for me to do my "shop" work.  I need to be better at scheduling in all those millions of behind-the scenes bits librarians do.  More often than I would have liked, that time got sacrificed for face-to-face time with the students.  What I need to keep in mind is that BOTH are important facets of my incredible job.  
  4. Our One Book, One School program was not the stellar success story it should have been.  I won't elaborate on this, but note that I do have plans for next year that should fix this issue.
Plans for next year:
  1. Keep the kids excited about reading.  and literature. and learning in every way.  Keep them curious about everything and teach them how to find out/figure out/the answers.  
  2. Make better sanity-preserving boundaries for myself (no working lunches) while still providing top-notch service for my school family. 
  3. Genre-fy like the wind!
  4. Remember to breathe.  And that ultimately it is all okay, because even if the carts to be shelved are overflowing, and the books aren't in the perfect order, and my circulation desk is piled high with to-dos, I play a big role of getting books into the hands and hearts of my children and I am truly successful at that. 
Read on, Gentle Readers; Read on!
Mrs. S

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