My journey along the path to being a Teacher Librarian is about two weeks old now. My journey requires me to complete a Masters in Education, paying my way as I go along and combining study with all the other demands of a 42 yr old with a busy life.
Prior to starting my study I was fortunate to be talking to another T/L who had completed the same course about 2 yrs ago. She told me about ‘Listserv’ which is a service for T/L’s to email with questions, answers, useful information, requests for resources and generally just support each other and the T/L community.
One of the ‘hot topics’ on this ‘listserv’ has been how to prove a T/L’s worth. This has been interesting for me to get an insight into the concerns of current T/L’s. Not only does it reveal their nervousness about the future of their profession, it also reveals to me ‘first hand’ – not just from academic readings- the variety and scope of a T/L’s role and the enormous amount of ‘good work’ being done by them in our schools. It is also wonderful to see the collegiality revealed through such a service as ‘Listserv’.
As a new student it has been great for me to get this insight and it allowed me to start to consider the T/L’s role, its future as a profession and also where I sat in that mix. At the start of an expensive higher education Masters, it would be naïve of me not to wonder if I’d made the right decision. (Husband of course has his eye on the end game i.e. will I get a job?) Now as two weeks have passed – how do I feel?
Firstly it’s wonderful to be in touch with other students who are all enthusiastic future T/L’s and the feeling of sharing and collegiality is continuing. Also knowing they are studying the subjects I am, and being taught about the needs of the T/L to be adaptive encourages me that they, at least will be a part of the new breed T/L. These are positive observations and give me hope for the future.
Secondly the first batch of readings whilst extremely useful, have in fact reaffirmed some of the feelings and worries expressed on the Listserv. What can I conclude from this? How do I feel about this? I have drawn 3 main conclusions so far.
- There is definitely an issue surrounding the future of T/L’s.
- My readings show me that the academic world of Education and T/L’s is aware of this issue and are ‘on the ball’ with addressing it. (Lets hope they have done so in time)
- The ‘listserv’ shows me that the T/L’s currently working and in the system are aware of this issue and are starting to work on self-promotion and accountability.
So where does that leave me – aside from wishing I had a crystal ball?
It leaves me aware but hopeful. My early readings mean I can see the challenges ahead and I can see both paths to the future of T/L’s and libraries in general. Conclusions 2 and 3 above leave me hopeful that changes are not just beginning to take place, but have already begun to take place to address the future of T/L’s and libraries.
Further to the above and perhaps carrying more weight for me than any of the above, is the evidence referred to in my readings that shows students outcomes are better and students results are higher in schools which have qualified T/L’s and successful Library programs. This is the proof and encouragement I need, that not only will my future job be making a difference to the lives of students, but it is in fact VITAL to a students future.
Surely governments and funding bodies won’t turn their back on such an invaluable resource?