Monthly Archives: April 2012
As my last post has attempted to display, I have had a play with wordle.net and added yet another little trick to my hat as a developing teacher librarian. So many terms, just like “wordle” have been introduced in and through my studies so far, and I’m proud to say that instead of shying from the subject and the language, I am embracing it and throwing myself in.. even excitedly.
The main motivator for me beginning my masters in Teacher Librarianship was my complete lag in technology. I stepped out of high school in 2001, and never increased my skills in information and technology past those that I required for distance education in my teaching degree. My undergraduate course required me to email, contribute to forums, and listen to podcasts (which I am sure were called purely mp.3’s!) I have had experience in the classroom on interactive whiteboards, but with no formal training I have been left feeling like I am winging it- and I do not like being forced out of my comfort zone. So… like my earliest post discussed, I have chosen to exit my comfort zone and plunge deeply into this degree. Not only am I learning about the role of the TL and all its facets – I am also gradually increasing my own skills in the sector that I was once hiding from, shamefully.
The role of the TL is enormous. I could extend on my wordle tenfold (if not for one toddler in the middle of a tantrum behind me, a 5 year old demanding we do his home reader right now, and a baby whose been in the playpen for about 17 1/2 minutes too long.)
Now well on my journey in ETL401, I am feeling a little like I am beginning to be a part of something.. I feel that at this stage I should reflect on where I have come from. The day I applied to study this course, I knew nothing at all about teacher librarians, outside of my own schooling memories of Mrs. Streeter at my primary school, and the cranky ones from high school who never really assisted me in anything other than motivating me with fear to return my overdue loans.
I worked in a public council operated library in my local area after leaving school, and whilst completing my education degree. I was a customer service operator/library assistant. Our branch library was staffed by myself, and the librarian. It provided me insight into library work which focused very heavily on clerical roles. Checkins and loans, branch cataloging, deselection, book repairs, and fines management. That was the part where I learnt the art of backdating!
My view of the TL was very, very narrow. I came into this with a passion for books, reading and learning; and with a desire to open more avenues for employment. I had suspected that this degree would focus heavily on information literacy and technology but I really couldn’t have known the actual extent to which it does. I felt very lacking in my own information technology skills, and saw this degree as a way of committing to changing this about myself. I am well aware of the role of technology in teaching and working with todays students. I know my weaknesses, and I am seeking to gain employment in the next few years, on a full time basis. I want to know that once my children are in school, and I am ready for that first job interview, that I will go in with 100% confidence in my ability to be a valued team member of any school. I want to fit this degree in before I am working full time, and while this has challenges as far as time management and family life are concerned, I know that it will make me employable. Thats why I’m here.
I am relieved to say that assignment one is done.
Is it any good? I can’t exactly say! It reads well, sounds coherent, has some good references, and from what I can tell – It touched on the topics which it was designed to do. Like always, with every assignment I can ever remember doing, I am unsure as to whether I have given the markers exactly what they want. If anything, I can say that I have my doubts about this one, in all honesty.
I have never written a critical analysis and found it challenging to compare the articles from Herring (2007) and Purcell (2010).. I also struggled with the referencing. It has been, as previously mentioned, far too long between assignments! I forgot the importance of writing or collecting FULL reference list details from each article as I came across them. This would have saved hours of work that I had to spend, backtracking. I have also learned the value in collecting the permanent links from database articles – not only did I learn the value of this feature, but also the existence!
My database searching skills are refreshed to undergraduate days! My next assignment will be far more organised from the very beginning!
I was so very close to dropping out of this unit in March, when my 5 year old said “No. Dont quit Uni. Im not quitting Kindergarten.” It grounded me, like my children often do. They are at the other end of all of this, and I want to role model to them what life is about – its a lifelong journey of learning. We dont quit being parents when it gets too tough, nor do we quit our jobs after a bad day. Why would I have wanted to quit something like Uni, that I have enrolled in purely out of interest and a passion for library?
Sleep is overrated anyway. So.. off I go to finish my last 800 words.
Critical thinking. It’s been a little too long between assignments I fear.
Reading. Summarising. Thinking. Reflecting. Analysing. Doubting and questioning my very own information literacy skills ! It is as though I am reading about the role of the Teacher Librarian in facilitating the learning journey of students, whilst being on that journey, somewhere on the spectrum, myself. Familiarising myself with online databases, using forums (which are not overly intuitive, in my opinion), critical thinking, and learning to maintain a blog!
And as for the Role of the Teacher Librarian? I’m not sure if reading more is insightful or frightening. I believe Purcell’s views to be well organised, if perhaps a little introductory. I am beginning to see a few questionable aspects of the role as she defines it, particularly with reference to her views on learning processes. Herring, however, writes of the TL roles in extensive detail, and in a way that leaves me, as the reader, trying hard to organise my thoughts on his chapter. The very nature of this topic lends itself to complexities in the literature which discusses it. A role that is vast, complicated, evolving and technical can not be justified or discussed in simple terms. Which leads me to the 4th coffee I’ve had today, as I sit down to Herring’s chapter, for another attempt at unravelling a well written, even if a little challenging, piece of writing.