Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The happy life of teacher librarians: Comment from an ex-student

From 2002 to 2007, I was a year adviser, responsible for a year group cohort that began with about 210 students in year 7 and ended with about 120 in year 12.  As anyone who's been a year adviser knows, it takes energy and imagination and patience and persistence and a decent dollop of faith (not always justified, but often enough to keep you going) and time.  And many other things. 

We did a whole lot of stuff for and with the kids, my fellow year adviser and I.  Some they saw - camps and formals and solving of problems,  events and activities and fundraising and Being There (so you could be told why The World/The Boyfriend/That Teacher was Daft/Stupid/Cool/Driving Me Nuts.  Etc).  Some they didn't - revamped procedures and paperwork, so many plans and phone calls and interviews and discussions and (oh-I-don't-miss-it!) writing summative report comments.  But that's the nature of the job.

Last week, one of my cherubs came back to school to speak at a presentation assembly for students who've earned high awards.  The cherub, a young woman of considerable achievements on her own account and for the community, particularly young people, came by to say hello, and we had a chat and a catchup.

What I didn't hear till later was what she'd said to a colleague.  She'd looked at the library, and all we've done to re-imagine it in the last couple of years (check the dates when I was a year adviser...and it's not coincidence that I started this blog in 2008) and she said to my colleague, "Looking at the library, and how much it's changed, I could see just how much time and effort Miss put into our year group." 

I didn't neglect the library, while I was a year adviser, not at all - but it's true that I have more time and energy to give it now than I did then.  It's true as well that each thing we do as teachers adds to our 'stuff' and enriches the next thing we do, and the one after.  So some of what I learned, being a year adviser, undoubtedly feeds into work I've done in the library since then.  No experience wasted!

Isn't that a lovely compliment?  I thought so.  And appreciated her taking the time and thought to say it, and my colleague for passing it on.  I learned lots, being a year adviser, had some great times with the kids; but am happy, at the moment, to be able to give my energy to the work of the library, helping kids in this way.

It's such fun passing on compliments - I love having the opportunity to do that for colleagues and kids.  Try it, if you can. 

Cheers, Ruth

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