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LM_NET  July 2018

LM_NET July 2018

Subject:

HIT: When You Are NOT Making a Difference

From:

Shonda Brisco <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Shonda Brisco <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 3 Jul 2018 08:44:14 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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A big THANK YOU for the responses regarding my questions about "When You
Are Not Making a Difference." I received many who were in the same
situation or who had just come from a similar situation and were now
slightly depressed from my email as they recalled their experiences! *grin*

I think my exasperated questions and feelings stem from a VERY demoralizing
situation that has placed me in my current situation which is NOT in the
library! After being asked (sought out and asked to come to a school
district that I had NOT even heard of or for which I had not even applied
for a position) to be the district librarian and clean-up the libraries, I
was hired to not only clean up--but clean out--the libraries that had books
dating back to the late 1800's. I completely moved one library into a new
school building and reset it during the summer months--without any
additional pay! I updated the catalog system to an online program that
would allow students and teachers to search for our materials, provided
website information, new databases, and even provided daily instruction to
elementary and middle school students for four years. Then...the financial
situation went south and funding was cut.

Instead of being asked to leave, I was moved from the library into the
classroom where I have been for the past three years. I teach high school
English, pre-AP English, and AP English III. The research assignments are
miserable--according to my students--but a godsend according to my fellow
teachers who also require research assignments in their courses and have
told me that they see a significant difference in what papers they are
receiving from the students (yes, this is an inspiration and I should be
proud...). Unfortunately, the libraries have returned to their dismal state
of disrepair--but, alas, the position for district librarian was reopened
this spring (without much notice given and during the hectic time of
year-end tests and graduation). I was unable to apply for the position at
the time; however, there was one person who was able to apply and be hired
without much public notification or even an announcement-- the
superintendent's wife.

Yes, there is bitterness for various reasons---and much of it stems from
the underhanded manner in which the school district handles these types of
situations. Yes, I could (and have) contacted my state's professional
educators' association--which is much like contacting your grandmother (who
is nonambulatory and uses an oxygen tank throughout the day just to
survive) to discuss your problems and ask for solutions. The district has
used loopholes and the "good-ol' boy / girl" system to continue to maintain
its status quo and legally get away with this type of behavior which
results from the same thing--- low scores, low morale, low improvement.
(You know the type of school district-- all the funds go to the football
program and the coaches, while the classrooms suffer without textbooks for
10+ years. Meanwhile, you are asked to do more for less--and if you ask for
anything, you are reminded (at least now after the Oklahoma Teacher
Walk-out which resulted in the FIRST teacher pay raise in over ten years)
that you ARE getting a significant raise this year! But what about the
resources and the classroom support? What about the materials and the
library?)

When my colleagues ask me, "Aren't you angry about the superintendent's
wife getting your old job?"-- what do I say?  I try to take the high road
and say that it's fine---after all, I know what it *was* like when I came
and the same individual who created the problems in the first place is
still there as an assistant re-creating the same mess again for the next
librarian (isn't there a saying about doing the same things over and over
again expecting different results??). It took me four years to clean-up the
horrific library program JUST to be able to teach the students how to USE a
library correctly! Now, we have students who have been lost (for the past
three years) coming through the system without any knowledge of how to
locate books---or how to read a call number! (Let me vent!)

The only other satisfaction that I have is the fact that the husband of a
school board member told me that he was GLAD that I wasn't working in the
library and was now IN the classroom. His son had taken my English class
and he told me that I had been the first and ONLY teacher who had taught
him how to do research correctly--(I will have his son again this year as
an AP student). While I realize that the effect that I have had as a
classroom teacher--who secretly teaches research skills and information
literacy without the world realizing that I'm a librarian disguised as a
classroom teacher--I am also mentally and emotionally drained from the
experience.

Now, I face a new school year watching another librarian perform the duties
that I once had at the SAME school---and no one seems to realize the
negative impact that this has (especially after my evaluations have always
been good-to-great and I was making progress in so many areas). I can say
that my position was filled with someone new because of the jealousy
exhibited by some who felt that perhaps I should work "behind the scenes"
rather than out in front--and on the pages of the local newspaper along
with my students and the latest visiting author! It's almost as if I was
being told that I had "forgotten my PLACE" in the educational program and
was stepping out to showcase my expertise and progress. In fact, I was even
told once that my work was intimidating because I provided everyone with SO
much new information, too many resources, and, apparently, too many
expectations (?) for others to collaborate or work with me.

Some of you suggested that I work toward National Board
Certification---which would be a great goal if I were in another
environment---but here, it would be sabotaged simply because it was a
threat to the status quo. Jealousy and lack of professionalism is a
significant problem within many school districts. A toxic climate among
educators, parents, and community members can destroy the best among us.

I don't know if there is a solution to all of this---as many of you also
stated---but we must continue to move forward. Nasty attitudes, the lack of
civility, and even the honest critical evaluation of your work climate can
and will develop into a reason for some to take revenge on those who speak
out. If they can't become better and move forward themselves, then they
will destroy those who want to try--who move ahead--who threaten them.

Thank you all for your honest words, thoughts, and suggestions. I will
continue to ponder my situation and hope for change. In the meantime, I
will work toward improving my classroom instruction and myself in order to
make a difference.

May you also find peace, strength, and hope for the upcoming school year!

~Shonda

-- 
Shonda Brisco, MLIS
Stillwater, Oklahoma
[log in to unmask]



*"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do
nothing." *(Edmund Burke)

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