Saturday, December 03, 2011

Welcome to BHS University.

Life has been interesting...even if my blog hasn't been. I have had the unexpected privilege of being able to act as librarian for a few days at this upscale high school in Rochester, NY. (Incidently, one of my aunts graduated from this school. Perhaps my older sister will let me know what year it was so I can look in one of the old year books there on Monday.) The regular librarian has gone to Florida because her mother is very ill.
I think it has been the most interesting high school I have ever worked at. It has an open campus policy. That means the students can come and go as they please, as long as they are present in class. There are no study halls. If they have a free period or lunch, they can go home or to a friend's house or even shopping for that long as they make it back to class, it is fine. They have operated on this schedule for years with very few problems. It is the first library that I have worked at where I have not had to say or have heard the following words, "Do you have a pass?" "Where are you supposed to be right now?" "Where are you going?" or "You must sign in." I find it to be rather refreshing. No babysitting! The clerk working with me says that the school treats the students this way, keeping in mind that the vast majority of them will be going to college in a few years (or less depending on their age) and the administration feels that it is part of the school's job to get the students accustomed to being responsible for their own time management. I love it! In fact, that was my first impression when I walked in on the first day. The library just had a very "university feeling" to it. Not only is the library very large (two stories), but most of the students are very academic.
It is also one of the most culturally diverse high schools I have ever been in (as far as race or country of origin...I think the vast majority come from well-to-do homes). There is a large Jewish population, as well as a pretty large Asian population.
The library is one of the busiest libraries I have ever been in. On the first day I subbed, I arrived at around 7:10 in the morning and found the library packed with students. Most of them were working on school work. School does not even technically start until 7:45. I happened to mention to the clerk that I need practice with reference questions. I have gotten practice alright! Some of these students are asked to research some very challenging topics. Each day I have had students come up to me asking for help finding information on some obscure topic. It has been a bit intimidating...but I am happy to say that I have been pretty successful! (phew) I am really enjoying this placement. I would love to work here! I am pretty sure the regular librarian loves her job too and will be returning on Tuesday.
In the meantime I will enjoy working there again on Monday.
(P.S. I forgot to mention that on the first day that I walked into the school, there was a man standing in a stairwell wearing a tuxedo, who was serenading the students on a violin. I'm not kidding! I'm wondering if they use fine china in the cafeteria...)


StacyB said...

What a refreshing post! I am elated when I hear of a vibrant school. That doesn't describe the experience I had in HS. I expect this is one of those jobs where you will be blessed as they are. Maybe the other librarian will enjoy the Florida climate so much that she moves there leaving the position to one Priscilla! ;)

Martha said...

Wow, that sounds like a great place to work and go to school. That's how it should be.

Aunt Jeanne was five years older than Mom, so my best guess is that she graduated in 1947. Let me know if you find anything.

Priscilla said...

I'll try to remember to bring the camera so I can take a picture of the yearbook page if I find her.

Bethany said...

I would like to go to High School there, if just to be serenaded by the violinist. Sounds fascinating.

joeks said...

So much of the time, the behavior you get from someone is the behavior you expect from them. Expect them to be responsible, the more likely they are to BE responsible. Glad to hear of it working out in such a positive way!

Priscilla said...

I totally agree with you! I was saying this same thing to someone yesterday. I think it is a big part of the success at this school.