Monday, August 11, 2008

Procedures, Procedures, Procedures

Well, I ran my class, Harry Wong-style, and guess what? It worked! My students knew exactly what I expected of them because I told them, I modeled it, they performed it, and then we all practiced. I broke down every procedure to the greatest detail. I made visual reminders of the procedures. I even created physical samples of how the completed task should look. What happened in there was the magic that I see in so many classrooms. Procedures are truly the key to success. After about three weeks of setting the tone in this way, I should be able to do some really great things with my kids this year. I want my kinders podcasting and my 5th graders videotaping reader's theater performances.

Tomorrow I will have six classes. I am already feeling the tingling in the back of my throat. It never fails, every year, I get sick and lose my voice. I promised myself that I would do minimal talking this year. I am really trying to take care of myself this year. I promised that I would never leave after 4pm. Today I left at 4:59...I'm improving.

Louise Hay would say that I should pay attention to what my body is telling me. In her book, You Can Heal Your Life, she wrote:
The THROAT represents our ability to "speak up" for ourselves, to "ask for what we want," to say "I am," etc. When we have throat problems, it usually means we do not feel we have the right to do these things. We feel inadequate to stand up for ourselves...Sore throats are always anger....LARYNGITIS usually means you are so angry you cannot speak.
I definitely feel angry. I do not feel a part of our school community. I can never collaborate with my teachers because I am a part of the "integral" loop (the kids come to me in the library, the music teacher, and the PE teacher, so they can have their grade level planning meeting). I barely have time to take care of myself during the day, and I do not have time to plan the type of quality lessons that I know I am capable of (22 lessons/week, K-5). I try to avoid complainers like the plague...and now I have turned into one of them.

I am feeling unsupported by my principal, who is well intentioned, but has no expectations for implementing a curriculum-involved library program. You know the saying, "There is no I in Team?" Well that person was right, because I am in the library and I am not a part of the curricular team at my school.


jamie said...

Your post struck a chord with me because I too am feeling frustrated. I am lucky enough to have avoided being "in the rotation" in my elementary school, but nevertheless feel that the library program has been marginalized by well-meaning but nevertheless unsupportive administration. I have 38 classes to see each week and I attend 1 or 2 PLC meetings each day for the first hour of the day (one for each grade level); however there is so much for the teachers to cover during this PLC time that they do NOT want to hear anything I have to say. They are busy crunching numbers and disaggregating data to turn in to the administration (either building or district)--and they really just want to be able to go to the bathroom before picking up their kids! It's the only time they have all day to do that!

I find myself in the first days of in-service feeling frustrated too. I know that it may not seem helpful for me to tell you that, but I do hope that it might help a bit to know that you're not the only one "out there" trying to find the way! And on a positive note, it sounds like you have some great ideas! Your wiki is inspirational. So you're doing more of the "right stuff" than you know, I suspect!

Monarch's Librarian Blog said...

38 classes!!! Yikes! I'm tired just thinking about that. How long are your classes?

I know I'm not alone. I realize that each time I attend ALA or AASL and I talk to other school librarians.

My teachers are coming around this year. Last year I would find out about assignments after they were completed. This year, I am receiving emails and requests for my professional advice. As long as I am here, I will continue to give 100%. I know that I am outgrowing my pot here and I will need to replant myself soon if I am to continue to grow.