Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dear Sonja

As my Tuesday SOL writing, I'm writing a letter to myself regarding the good, the bad, and the ugly of this year as suggested by Todd Nesloney in his Educator Learning Series.

Dear Sonja,

Hey there, chickadee!  We've sure come a long way this year, haven't we?  Do you remember this time last year when you had just learned you got the high school librarian job?  How utterly thrilled yet anxious you felt about your ability to be awesome in this new setting?  Yeah, aren't you glad it has all worked out better than you ever expected?

Not that it has been all roses, for sure.  I mean, there was the adjustment period when the newly retired librarian told you that you made her cry because you made some changes.  Yeah, um...that was a bit awkward.  She also mentioned that you were very creative and intelligent (like her sister who often forgets where she has placed her shoes).  Okay, so there have been a few awkward moments as you both settled into your new roles.  In the end, it all worked out okay, didn't it?

Working with high school kids has been the BEST time in your life, though....you realize that, right? I mean--I know you loved teaching kindergarten...and then 5th grade was a great time, too. And yes, all those years in middle school were fun, but high school--ah, high school--this is where you BELONG, sister.  You love those kids, you know--and they love you right back.  Remember when George copied your face and plastered it all over the library--and kids were even walking around school WEARING your face???  We'll never forget that, will we?  We laughed and laughed all day.  I still giggle just thinking about it.

Seeing all those kids you had in middle school--on the cusp of leaping out of the nest and flying off into their amazing futures? Priceless.  You've had such fun meeting new kids, too.

You've had a ball living in the chaotic state of procrastination and drama in which most high schoolers dwell.
"Hey Miss--can you help me print this in color?  It's due next period. You got glue? Tape? Scissors? Colored paper?"
"Can you read over my paper and tell me if it sounds okay?"
"Um...what exactly IS MLA format and how do you do it?"
"My computer hates me.  What do I do?"
"Can you recommend some good books for me?  My friend says your pretty good at it."
"I wrote something.  It is about my life. I want you to read it."
"I love him. I hate him. He stinks. I love him."
"She's beautiful. She loves him. I love her. Love stinks."

I'm really proud of  you for adjusting so well to life up there, actually.  You and your assistant seem to have a great time working together---and Tiara Tuesdays were a genius idea.  Now that y'all know each other you can better know how to be an encourager to her.

Over the summer I hope you'll take some time to consider a few specific changes.  One, you really need to do something about reorganizing your office space to have a better workflow for you when processing books.  Two, you really need to adjust the way you train your student library aides. Remember to train them in a way that encourages and rewards a strong work ethic. Three, work on specific ways to collaborate with teachers in order to best help them.

You are gonna feel SO good when your genre-fying project is complete!  Keep on keeping on, sister. The effort you put forth now and into the summer will be so worth it in the long run. Oh, and please DO the Read-a-Thon again--even if it isn't a national thing next year.  Everyone had fun with that and you got to spend an entire Saturday morning reading a great book.  And your videos?  They are getting better.  Keep going on those, too.  Don't be afraid of being seen as a fool--you are human. When you aren't scared to put yourself out there, kids sense that and it helps them to be brave, too.

Eat more salads, but bring more baked goods to share.  When it doubt always purchase more of the good coffee.  Remember to smile at the kids who make it hard to smile--they need it the most. I'm proud of you.



  1. What a fun idea—writing a letter to yourself. I might steal it. I adjusted to a new role this year, and it had its challenges and its rewards, so I can really relate to everything you're saying.

    1. thank you! I had fun writing it--and after rereading it I find it pretty revealing about my priorities. I see way more about relationships than about "librarying"---which I'm totally good with! Steal away--and I'd love to read yours!

  2. I love this line! "Can you recommend some good books for me? My friend says your pretty good at it."

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you! I have enjoyed your #EduLS so much! :)

  4. Sonja--I, too, love your idea of a letter to yourself! I am going to suggest this to our staff. I moved into a elementary librarianship this year, with the former librarian still in the building--so I know how fun that can be! ;-D Love Tiara Tuesdays! Tell us more!

  5. This is a great idea! I will write mine in my journal this year and maybe next year be more public on the blog. Thx for the inspiration!

  6. Thanks, y'all! :) I am grateful to Todd Nesloney with his learning challenges that pushed me to write this!