First, you need to understand that I’m not really a “former” librarian. I am a school librarian who is also a science teacher. It just happens that for the immediate future, I’ve chosen to focus on the science teacher part by leaving the library to return to the classroom. I made this change 3 years ago when a science position came open in my building. While I have missed many of the aspects of the library, I love teaching science every day.
Now for the “trouble” part. When I was in the library, I was focused on programming. I wanted to make sure I was offering programming that would get students into the library. I hosted before school and during school book clubs, genre lunches in the library, news crew, game club, and kept the library open before and after school every day. When I left the library, I forgot to leave my focus on programming in the library. I brought it with me. Game club followed me to my classroom where it is held on a weekly basis. I also continued working with a small group of students after school posting YouTube videos to highlight our school. As a science teacher, I also found myself leading a rocket building team. These activities allow so many students to feel connected to school beyond their classes. They catered to students who are traditionally not served by extracurricular activities, but they left me in a time crunch. During the weeks leading up to the rocket competition, I found that I was hosting something 4 afternoons each week. The 5th afternoon was reserved for faculty and department meetings.
For a moment, I wondered if I might need to scale back. I wondered if the things I was investing in were actually making a difference in student achievement, which should be the number one goal. For a minute, I considered dropping these activities, but then I looked at the kids. I saw kids who had a place to belong after school–kids who weren’t interested in being on a sports team but needed a place to hang out with their friends. Once I looked at the kids, I realized that there’s more to “student achievement” than test scores. I also remembered that there are more things that matter than what can be measured.
I still find myself wishing for more hours in my day. I sometimes consider what I might do with those extra hours that I could gain by stepping down from my after school commitments, but I also find myself wishing I had more time each week to sponsor events to give even more kids a place to belong. After all, who doesn’t want a place to belong?