In his grimly realistic post, “Do You Provide a Student’s Worth of Value?” Doug Johnson asks us to consider seriously the value we provide to our schools in the light of looming budget shortfalls:
“So here is my question: Do teachers see you adding a student’s worth of value in their classrooms? Does your presence balance the extra work each body in a classroom creates? Do teachers see your value in:
- Creating independent readers (that raise test scores)?
- Teaching technology and research skills (taking some important curriculum off their plates)?
- Providing time for planning (fixed schedule)?
- Providing immediate in-building tech support and training?
- Adding constructive teaching materials, methods and ideas to a teacher’s toolkit?
There will be plenty of time for identifying those things and gathering statistics which are important for telling our stories. But right now, reading his post, all I can think of are the students gathered around our front desk in the morning talking with my staff, the student curled up in a comfortable chair reading a new book we’ve left out on the table, the student asking us to help her find a good book to read, a student thanking us for helping him create a video, a teacher coming by to talk about her excitement about an online project, a class on the deck outside listening to their teacher read, a student running in for a prize because he saw a tweet we sent, a pair of teachers talking over their curriculum over lunch, and a student shyly sharing an idea for a short story he’s writing–all in a day’s work.
Simple things really, but all things that give students and teachers a place to belong, to ask for help, to share their enthusiasm for learning and knowing that the library (or research center) as we call our place, is their place.
The value added is, in my opinion, the human value. Seeing a library full of happy and earnest students gathered to talk, listen, learn, study, share, create, and build relationships–I can’t help but believe that providing that place is worth a priceless amount to our students.