Monday, November 17, 2014

Best of intentions

You know when you start a new project and you have this perfect vision of everything you're going to accomplish and all that you're going to do, but then reality sets in and you realize that you had the best of intentions, but you've kinda dropped the ball on some things?

Welcome to my reality . . .

I had the best of intentions in starting this blog. I really did. My intent was to chronicle my experiences as a first year Teacher Librarian. To document the ups and downs, the triumphs and tribulations. To share my progress with my fellow librarians who were embarking on a similar journey to define (or redefine) what it means to be a librarian and what a librarian's role should be in schools.

And then reality set in . . .

If you've read my previous post about striking balance, I'm admitting epic failure with this blog. But I've got a very good reason.

I've been given the most amazing opportunity to create my dream job. I shouldn't, but I feel almost guilty when I tell people this, especially other librarians. I mean how many people get to say that they were given the go-ahead to fulfill their vision? I am so blessed to have had this opportunity fall into my lap.  I am blessed to have an administration who got "it," who were visionary enough to understand that our school's library could be so much more than a room to house books and that the librarian could do so much more to support literacy and technology if given the opportunity to extend beyond the walls of the library. I'm so blessed that they saw the potential of rearranging the specials schedule to allow for collaboration and support of the classroom curriculum. I'm blessed that they truly value literacy and want students to have access to an abundance of literature and technology. And I'm blessed that they've entrusted me to make it all happen.

And my students and staff! How do I even begin to talk about how amazing they have been, especially the staff? Without them, my dream job would have faltered and failed. My staff has welcomed me into their classrooms and their lives with open arms, constantly giving me opportunities to prove my worth and to help support student learning. We've been working hard to develop lessons that integrate technology and allow students the opportunity to practice their literacy skills and see the value of reading (okay, I fully admit that last statement sounds like some sort of idealized mission statement, but I totally promise that it's true).

So, basically, I'm saying that I've been a little busy. And I dropped the ball.

And with that having been said, I want to recommit to myself (and to you) that I will reflect and document my journey with more regularity. I'd love to commit myself to something as ambitious as once a week, but the reality is . . . that may not happen. But you're busy too, so you'll understand! But just know, I truly do have the best of intentions!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Why THLibrariZen?

Some of you may be asking yourself why I chose THLibrariZen as the name of my blog (and as part of my Twitter handle: @THLibrariZen). 

Well, let me enlighten you.

I'm an inspiration kind of person. I love reading through inspirational quotes, filling my own proverbial bucket and challenging myself to be a better (fill in the blank of the part of my life I'm working on that day). Those quotes give me warm fuzzies and give me a refreshed outlook on situations when I often need it most. But one day, I stumbled upon this great quote from Thomas Merton (and, yes, I had to look up who Thomas Merton was . . . turns out he was an author) that states: "Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony." 

And I busted a gut.

I am a firm believer in that attitude is everything. You choose your own attitude, and you control your own happiness. And as a devoted yogi, I most definitely seek to find harmony (please note the use of the word "seek"). Yep, I'm a regular optimist.

But striking a balance? Order? Rhythm? Well, those are sometimes a little lacking in my world. Especially the balance part. More accurately, I should say, balance is something I have yet to figure out. I'm a wife, a mother, a friend, a reader, a new librarian, a techie, a reading teacher, a life-long learner and 30 bazillion other things/roles (30 bazillion is most definitely my favorite hyperbole). We all understand that there numerous demands on our time and attention. As I say in my header, I'm constantly attempting to find the balance in all things: between work and home, between print and digital literacy, between old and new . . . just to name of few.

If there's someone out there who has been able to strike that balance to perfection, please do share your secrets. I'll take copious notes.

The eternal optimist in me recognizes and celebrates the journey. If finding perfect balance were easy, life would be pretty boring. It's the journey, not the destination (to paraphrase Emerson . . . didn't have to look him up). 

As a reminder of that sentiment, I wanted to choose a name that was representative of my attempt to find balance in my work and personal life, of my journey as a new librarian and my attempt to find a balance between the traditional role of a librarian and the new approach my school district has been visionary enough to support. 

So my name is an homage to my new school (Titan Hill) for giving me the opportunity to create my dream library (that's the library part of my name) and to the pursuit of my own enlightenment and perhaps, one day, a perfect balance (Zen).

Wish me luck. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Year of Firsts

Today, it was a pretty significant first for me. It was my first day of school . . . as a Teacher Librarian.

For the first time in my 14 year career, I didn't spend the weeks before school preparing for 145 7th graders to enter my Reading classroom. Rather, for the first time in my teaching career, I found myself in a new school district, in a new position, working with a new staff, and with a whole new group of students (obviously, since I'm starting my 14th year in education, I'm an "old hat" at welcoming new groups of students into my reading realm each year . . . it's just that these ones are younger than my usual crew).

The reality of the last few days have prompted me to take pause and reflect on a few of the firsts I have already experienced as part of my new career path. In addition to those mentioned above, I've started to make a mental list of all the firsts I've experienced thus far. The list that follows is simultaneously amazingly incredible and horribly terrifying (I'll let you decide which ones are which):
            - first time being in charge of a library (I'm still reeling on this one!)
            - first time redesigning a library space (in later posts, I'll share that adventure . . . it's quite the story)
            - first time raising my hand as an elementary teacher
            - first time sitting through professional development as a Specials teacher (this is also another experience I'll blog about . . . it's been an adjustment that may trump all others)
            - first time realizing I don't have a single group of students to call my own (that just means they're ALL mine, right?!)
            - first time blogging
            - first time changing a laminating roll (oddly enough, this was not part of my Library Science program)
            - first time asking students in the bus line to "sit on their pockets"

And this isn't the first time I've counted my lucky stars for the what all these firsts signify. This collective list (and all the firsts yet to come) mean that I have started my dream job.

Today is was real . . . for the first time I could really own these words: I AM a Teacher Librarian.