This school year I am a new librarian at Thomas Edison Elementary School, but this is my 15th year teaching for Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS). My history of teaching in MNPS ranges from PreKindergarten to first grade to the computer lab and then as a data/assessment coach. Each step in my career has brought their own changes in what I needed to know and understand, but moving from a classroom setting to a setting where I dealt with the school as a whole, such as the library, my world had to change.
I went from dealing with 15-22 students in a self-contained classroom to greeting and working with upwards of 150 students in the library during lessons and all the students who come in during open checkout each day. I have had to learn their personalities, quirks, and preferences when they are looking for something that might interest them. I have had to learn classroom personalities and dynamics to make the time that these students spend in the library a successful one. I have also had to learn how to support students who are struggling with finding something that might interest them at their reading level, as well as challenge students who have been in a rut reading the same books every time they come to visit.
Another change has been moving from learning the standards and expectations for what I was expected to do in my classroom to learning the AASL library standards and how they correlated and blended in with EVERY grade levels' standards in the classroom. Teachers will come in and let me know what they are studying in the classroom and ask me how I can help extend their students’ knowledge. It would mean diving into their standards and even working backwards to see how the skills built through the years, creating lessons based upon where each class in a grade level is at when they come to visit. It has been an eye opening experience to step out of my world in first grade and see how all the pieces fit together and how I have been able to help with the process.
Of the many changes that I have experienced, one of the biggest, was becoming part of a bigger team. Being in first grade, or any grade, one gets wrapped around the needs of the grade level. In the library, I work with the whole school, every grade level, every teacher, every position. Each has added to the rich atmosphere of the library with their ideas and personalities. Each grade level has been instrumental to guiding me with their knowledge and deep love for their students and their needs.
Moving from the classroom to the library has been a change, but one that has held nothing but positive blessings.
MNPS (new) Teacher-Librarian