Friday, April 12, 2013

Some Initial Impressions

Today I was supposed to shadow the woman that I am going to be subbing for. Yesterday she called me to let me know that she is sick and wondered if I would be her sub today instead. Of course I said yes!  So I went there today.

I have a very good feeling about this placement.  I am going to learn a tremendous amount and also get plenty of experience to help me get a job in the future.  The school is very nice.  My initial impression is that the school is well run.  The teachers seem cheerful and professional. The library is beautiful!  I have several computers that children can work on and also a SMART-board for lessons.  There is a beautiful office area to get work done in. The schedule leaves plenty of planning time and also possibly to do projects with teachers if they are willing. I also have a helpful volunteer who checks books in and out, and also helps manage the classes.

There are drawbacks. in particular. The helpful volunteer.  She really is a volunteer...not getting paid a cent for what she does.  The entire school loves her...especially with all the cuts that have been made to education lately.  Not only does she volunteer in the library, but she picks up and does copying for all the teachers in the morning. She truly is helpful to the librarian. One cannot really run an elementary library very efficiently without a second person there helping. While the librarian is helping students find books they are interested in, several others are lining up to sign out books...meanwhile another set of eyes is always helpful for keeping an eye on mischievous students. (Imagine this scene: while I am helping Suzy find a book about magic tricks, Billy and Joe have decided to crawl under the tables and pretend they are can just picture it.) For an elementary school librarian, the second pair of eyes is golden. However...Mrs. R, a woman in her 60's who is from Scotland...(not that Scotland matters, I just want you to imagine the scene with the right accent), is a little over zealous with her disciplining. I taught three classes today, and she rudely interrupted each one to discipline children.  She sent one little girl (Katie) to time-out in another part of the library and honestly, I did not think the little girl had done anything terrible at all.  In fact, I'm not sure what she did...if anything at all. The little girl seemed very surprised and very hurt by it.  After about 5 minutes, I called Katie back to the group. During the third class, Mrs. R was speaking sternly to the class about speaking out of turn.  If she had ended it there, it would have been fine, but she went on and on and asked, "Who is still speaking?...Who is still speaking!!!?" (and I thought to myself through gritted teeth...'You are.') At the end of the first class, I asked a little girl if she would help me collect the pencils.  When Mrs. R saw her collecting the pencils, she began to scold her. I stopped Mrs. R and said, "I asked her to collect the pencils for me." Mrs. R said, "That's not how it's done."

This is a problem that will need to be addressed and it is going to be very sticky.  I really do not want to lose her help in the library, but I cannot have her running the show.  I am the librarian and she is the volunteer helper.  (key word: helper)

This coming Thursday, I will meet Rachel (the librarian who is expecting a baby soon) and will be working with her directly.


kristina said...

Oh wow. I will pray about that. Maybe the lady you are subbing for can help somehow. It seems like everywhere there is a difficult person. I like your post I wish I could write well. I love the details. I haven't been in a school library in a long time but I felt like I was right there.

Martha said...

I agree with Kristina. I like how you write too.

It does sound like a rather sticky situation. I hope you are provided the wisdom to know how to handle it.

Katya said...

Yikes! Mrs R needs a time out to catch a grip!!! Some people are so rigid with kids. Yes, children must learn to be respectful, but we must also realize they *are* little children and learn by gentle guiding. Sounds like too much vinegar and not enough honey. Perhaps that is why the Lord has you there!!!!