A year ago I took on my first public school library position after working as an academic/ public librarian. Unbeknownst to me, I was assigned classroom teaching responsibilities on top of running a library, despite having zero training as a teacher. In dire straights, I turned to this group for help and received an outpouring of support and advice. Despite wanting to quit every other day, I saw it through to the end of the year. I leveraged my experience teaching technology to get my certification as a Google Certified Educator (Level 1, working on 2) and more importantly, a new position at a different school, one with truly supportive administration who understands and actively supports the role of the library. Good bye grading!
I could never have succeeded in my first year as a public school LMS without this group. Thank you, thank you, thank you. If there's anyone else out there struggling, know that there's hope.
help! overwhelmed new Library Media Specialist
Tue, 15 Sep 2015 18:28:07 -0400
Last week I started a new job as a Library Media Specialist at an urban public middle school. My schedule consists of 16 classes, grades 6-8, all 50-60 minutes long. All I've been given is a set of keys, a folder of documents and many, many immediate deadlines (bulletin boards deadlines, lesson plans, individual class syllabi, substitute plans, student writing responses, grades). Absolutely ZERO training, no orientation, no guidance.
I know many here trained as teachers first, but I did not. I earned my MLS years ago and worked in libraries only. I took this job because I wanted a short commute and a work schedule that I thought would be more compatible with my childrens' (not really). I naively thought I had a lot to offer because I had lots of experience in collection development and expand their small library. Now maintaining the library is the lowest of my priorities, if at all.
I never thought I would quit a new job a week in, but I am terrified, exhausted, and completely overwhelmed. I turned down a job offer as a youth services librarian for this, and now I'm wondering if I just made a huge mistake. Please, please help.
Miriam Tahiri, MLS
[FOLLOW UP POST]
Mon, 21 Sep 2015 18:35:26 -0400
First - thank you a thousand times to everyone who responded to my plea. Immediately after my original message, I received an outpouring of support, in lesson plans, tips, encouragement, and advice. Y'all ROCK.
To recap: I'm a seasoned librarian hired on to be the library media specialist at a secondary school. I was never told that I would be teaching "computer" classes to ALL 6, 7 and 8th graders, teaching 3-4 50 minute classes per week. I do NOT have a background in teaching. As it so happens, my district supervisor is out until next year and my assigned mentor is a lovely but also overworked ELA teacher on the 3rd floor (I'm on the 1st).
Update: I requested and received my curriculum. Yes, I had been 'teaching' already without any curriculum or idea of what to cover for 4 classes per grade per week. I asked for help with lesson plans from a different admin, since I am required to turn them in weekly. I met with the Vice Principal to let her know how totally overwhelmed I was - and the concrete steps I've been taking in addressing my needs. She wasn't sympathetic in the least, but she did give me extensions on the bulletin board (that must show student work at Domain 3 or 4, WTF) and some time on class observations (did I mention we're only into our second week of school??)
But most important, I learned that my experience is atypical of the district, that the insane requirements, frequent unplanned meetings, deadlines, inhumane workload is pervasive and only at this school (oh lucky me!). The school has a pattern of hiring new and out of district newbies (me), before they burn out and leave. I learned my predecessor - an excellent librarian by any indication of her lesson plans and projects - lasted just a year before she quit. The teachers are deeply, bitterly angry with administration and have escalated numerous complaints to the union president, who is aware of the problems. So in a nutshell, I stepped into one hot mess.
The only saving grace is the kids. Today I dismissed my last class with a "good bye!" and one of the middle schools who stayed to talk books said "Please don't go! We like you!" So we'll see how long I last, but I'll give my all to those damn kids while I'm there.
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