Saturday, 2 September 2017

Teachers, 6 ways the school librarian can empower you to do it yourself!

A recent twitter conversation with @julielindsay made me really think about how I advocate about what school librarians do. Julie questioned whether my statement about 'what school librarians can 'do' for teachers' should not be 'doing it for them' but to empower them to do it themselves made me think about what I have been saying about a school librarians role in schools.

After thinking about this I still do feel that an important part of a school librarians role is  'doing' things for the teacher, and as a information professional it is part of our role. As I have said before, if a librarian can save teachers time by finding and supplying the best resources for a topic they are about to teach then we are doing a good job. This is better than teachers using books that have been int their classrooms for years or them spending hours Googling to find decent websites. I also agree with Julie, however,  that empowering teachers to be digitally fluent and connected is equally important and this is why advocacy for school librarians is important because we do that too.

New teachers induction day 

I recently attended a new teachers induction day alongside Ellie, one of our SLS librarians. Schools' Library Service (SLS) were asked to attend as a support service and were delighted to be able to to chat to new teachers about how our service supports teaching and teachers.  Many teachers had heard of SLS's having come from the UK and were expecting the book loans but were surprised when we started telling them about the support we provide within the classroom. This is where advocacy is essential because our role is also to 'empower the teachers to be digitally fluent and connected' through co-teaching in the classroom. We were able to talk to teachers about the support we give in:-

  1. lessons, on using online resources, focusing on the importance of a keyword search. 
  2. using current digital tools such as Padlet and Flipgrid within the classroom. We create the platform find a connecting school and help support it during the lesson. 
  3. collaborations by finding and linking classrooms across the world.
  4. bringing the outside world into the classroom thought Google hangouts, be that specialist on volcanoes or people talking about their own culture.
  5. engaging ways to encourage reading, literacy and information literacy i.e breakout
  6. book awards etc.

All of this empowers the teachers to do this themselves. Many teachers do not have the time to do much of this when it all seems so scary and new to them. Our role allows them to try these things with support. We show them how to find connections, what new digital tools to use, how to set up the  platforms and when they are ready, they do it themselves. 

So do I do it for them? Yes but only when they need me to...

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