Thursday, August 13, 2009

One day

One day last week...
  • Arrive in the library, bag in my office, switch computer on
  • Take down all the organisation/furniture from last night's parent-teacher night
  • Direct traffic (ie. students volunteered) to put back all the library furniture in its right place
  • Run around roll call groups to organise distribution of new library cards
  • Pour a diet Coke over ice - ah the wonderful clink-crack of shattering ice! -  and smell the heady scent of the jonquils on the lunch table.  Double refreshment.
  • Check email
  • Search enquiry: it mutates from Olive Cotton to sunglasses photography.  Email the weblinks we found to the student who came in with the question.  Take a moment to rhapsodise about "Teacup Ballet", one of my favourite photographs.
  • Morning tea: posh today, white Castello cheese and seaweed crackers, to mark a colleague's return
  • Talk cheerfully to the general assistant/handyman, whose Eeyore impersonation is long-standing and (I suspect) ineradicable.  But gosh we appreciate what he does for the library
  • Visit a faculty at recess and talk about cabbages, kings, year advising, netbooks, cricket (the upcoming Ashes Test match), baby names, shoes, school gossip, using email to communicate with students, and more.  (Stun, I suspect, the young blokes in Science with my capacity for intelligent, up-to-date, informed commentary on cricket.  Ha! AND I can talk baby names.  And netbooks.  Triple ha!)
  • Organise attendance at a conference, getting signatures on approval and finance forms, phoning the organisers and making sure registration is submitted in time
  • Buy a sandwich for lunch from the canteen
  • Do some paperwork/the mail/etc.
  • I recently acquired a wall display cabinet (pinboard back) which another faculty didn't want.  Our first display in there is Twilightery - various articles/posters which can be safely admired by the kids and not vanish... so I put in the pieces I've collected so far.  Doesn't take long to be noticed, kids stopping to read.  Good!
  • Discuss some renumbering we're doing for biographies with my school assistant
  • Catch up with one of my mentor students and organise a meeting time (coffee is her tipple, she says in answer to my enquiry)
  • Make soothing noises in the direction of a stressed senior student, offering a listening ear, a wise advice and all the other things teachers offer every day to kids
  • Attend an emergency year meeting
  • Supervise the library at lunchtime, wrangling kids, books, kids, questions, kids, pointing out the absence of signs saying "RABBLE WANTED", checking computer use, pointing out that according to the signage it's a "READING LOUNGE" not a yapping lounge, loaning books, finding books, talking books, talking kid-cabbages and kings.
  • Put out an enticing assortment of books for a Year 8 English class in fiction.  Talk briefly to whole class, then with individuals - finding books, recommending books, recommending how to read books silently (mouth shut, book open is such a good start, sweetie).  Do the hot chocolate thing with this class - four happy kids sipping as they read.  Lending books, renewing books etc.
  • Catch up with another one of my mentor students and organise a meeting time (hot chocolate is her preference)
  • Vary the enticing assortment of books for the next period's Year 9 English class and spend the period between them, the other English class reading in the library and the class on the computers
  • Catch up with the third of my mentor students and organise a meeting time (in reply to 'coffee, tea or hot chocolate' he starts to answer as though he was talking to Starbucks, skinny double macchiato with arabica....  I point out that I'm not a Starbucks, nor is my name Gloria Jean, but that the coffee isn't Pablo so if he likes coffee, good, and optimism is a beautiful, if sometimes unrewarded, quality.  We exchange grins)
  • End of day bell.  Settle to work on in the quiet - staff blog, this blog, other school paperwork.  Several students have asked me to review their long writing projects for Extension 2 English.  One junior girl who's writing a novel asked if I would like to read some?  Of course! - but I find myself a tad distracted by the spelling gaffes which aren't spellchecker-fixable (eg. dam for damn) because they are correct spellings of other meanings/words.  Also, I'm not sure I realised I was saying yes to over 12,000 words.....(I think she said it was a quarter of what she'd written - admirable energy and commitment!).
  • I leave with the cleaners at six o'clock.  It's dark outside, and we have some cheerful banter on the way to the car park.  There are a number of eucalyptus trees around it, and in the night air (and maybe it's something seasonal, because it's not something I notice all the time) the astringent, refreshing scent of eucalyptus is evident with every indrawn breath.
  • I remember, on my way out, that lunch sandwich.  Eat it in the car on the long trip home, listening to the audiobook of Temeraire.
  • Home.
And, what, you may ask, is the point of documenting all this, apart from possible vanity?  Ah, but do it for your own day, and then take a look.  How is your time spent?  How much is planned, and how much is inevitably reactive, for in every day and every library people come through the door needing help/advice/assistance there and then?  I'm sure I'm not the only teacher librarian to arrive at the end of a busy day and wonder just what I got done, because it felt like I didn't stop...

Then pat yourself on the back.  Because teacher librarians do a great job!



PS. I didn't cheat - that really was one day last week...not a composite.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your day, though did you really post it before 6am this morning?! You work long hours! Now, on to look at those library signs I came here for...

Audrey Nay said...

I appreciate what you are about!! I did this exercise for my executive on my last day of term 2. Was most enlightening...but certainly not helped by the "Recovery required" message I encountered at the end of that day!! Being primary RFF and the very last day of term there should have been many other entries but they just did not get done....and as you- I did not leave until way past dark and way past the cleaner!! Long live the TL!!

Ruth Buchanan said...

@ penszen: I mostly schedule entries to the blog, writing them ahead of time. I schedule them for earlyish in the morning so there's fresh content at the start of each school day for when people log on to their computers. Sometimes, though, something comes up during the day and I bung in an extra entry - those usually have the exact posting time. Being able to schedule entries is a great thing, though - much easier than daily remembering/posting, and I prepare the entries in my own time after hours/on weekends.

@ Audrey: how do computers know it's the last day of term? I've had a computer pull that sort of trick on me on the last day of term too.

Thanks for the comments.

Audrey Nay said...

Being able to schedule entries is a great thing... How do you do that? I would love to know.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a day! Ruth, you are an inspiration.
Ever since discovering your blog, we have tried lots of your ideas in our college library. Moving the furniture was a great idea, just for one example.
You make us laugh, make us envious and make us feel it is all worthwhile.
Keep up the excellent work.
Jennifer in New Zealand

Ruth Buchanan said...

@ jennifer: thank you!!

@ audrey: To schedule a blog entry:
Login to your blogspot blog at

At the bottom of the white 'post' window, click on Post Options.

Over on the right, you have a box where you can specify the date and time - take care as it may be in US order, depending on how you've tweaked your blog settings (ie. month/day/year rather than day/month/year).