Sometimes as a librarian (or technology teacher) it’s easy to get discouraged. Despite how much outreach you do or how good you are, you wonder if teachers really need you or realize that they can call on your support and services? They are so used to working independently and doing things themselves.
How do you bring teachers into the program or get them to collaborate in their planning process? Or get them to utilize the richness that is there in a library or with the technology, when they are busy and doing grades and coaching and all the various things teachers are asked to do. How do you become partners in the truest sense of the word? Is it a paradigm shift, and if so, how do you get there?
There are so many ways to draw them in, of course, but an essay I read last night really encapsulated it for me.
In her collection, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott writes about her brother, who is struggling to complete a research project on birds that he has totally neglected doing. He had three weeks to do the project, she relates, and yet procrastinated until the last night. As he was sitting head in hands, their father speaks to him–reminding him the way to get it finished is just “Bird by bird.” That’s how you do something, bird by bird, one at a time.
(Our “bird by bird” effort of late is hosting “creative Fridays”–we are having different right brained creativity activities in the library every Friday for whoever wants to come. Not only is it relaxing for the staff, it’s a fun way to bring together teachers who might normally not see one another. The tasks can be anything, like today we made Valentine’s, next week we’re doing a techie creative time. But there’s something about sitting around a table together in a small communal group of adults that we don’t get enough of in schools.)
So perhaps it is a challenge sometimes but when we remember to celebrate each connection we make, each teacher or student we touch, each success we have, then maybe we begin to understand how to do it “bird by bird.”
And isn’t that true of any real tremendous challenge in life? that we figure it out, bird by bird.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/monkeyc/128255887/