Did I disappear? Yes! The first week before we open the school to students, I disappear from my blog and focus exclusively on helping get the school ready. This year is particularly exciting since we feel like a brand-new school. Most of the teachers are new to the building. There are only a few who "opened" the building 7 years ago and stayed with the program through being moved to another location for two years. Many of my colleagues are experiencing tremendous changes. Not always anticipated.
I have a great staff. PHEW! We focused our time this week during inservices on dealing with change and learning about personality styles/temperaments so we can work better together. Teachers are excited to be there. They ask for help. They are courteous. They welcome me visiting their rooms and they PROMISE to bring in their classes frequently.
Let me give you a quick overview of my schedule:
Monday – frantically setting up the library, putting up posters, processing new books and creating inviting displays of new books that attract people to go touch the books.
Tuesday – Student Orientation! Two groups, over 500 students visit with 315 parents.
Wednesday – Inservice for faculty, set up rooms & equipment
Thursday – Inservice for district librarians
Friday – Inservice for faculty, set up rooms & equipment
The building was expected to house 820 students. We have over 900 enrolled and expect close to 1000 Monday. We are still unpacking boxes, setting up computers, discovering which phones work, and learning the names of our colleagues. Teachers are still being hired for Monday morning and we are having FUN!
I was so nervous on Tuesday. Time to meet students and parents. Will they like me? (Come on! You feel the same way.) Do you have enough expertise to handle everything thrown at them? Are they "different" from what you are accustomed to after 19 years with mostly elementary students? Can you stimulate learning and a desire to learn? Will they find me too babyish?
I love it. As soon as I met the students, I knew we were going to do well. They wanted to know they were welcome and that this was "their library" so they needed to get involved in making it great. Some immediately started making notes of the titles they wanted to see. Some quizzed me. "Have you read so-and-so? How do you feel about graphic novels? Will you be buying so-and-so? How do you feel about bangles?"
What?! How do I feel about bangles? That was the last question I expected. Of course I was wearing long earrings, stone pendants, bracelets, 6 rings, a watch, and a skirt that has a bell on it. I looked at the three girls who were intently drilling me. "I wear alot of bangles," I said. "I hope that won’t bother you."
Phew! That was the right answer. Seems "someone" made them remove bangles when they came to the library in their past experiences. They’d have to leave them at the desk and come back only at the end of the day to retrieve them. Who on earth wants to deal with the responsibility of keeping up with students jewelry all day long?
I reminded the girls of the one word I’d be using all year long R-E-S-P-E-C-T. As long as they respected me and others in the room by controlling the sound, we’d have no problem. I reminded them that if my bangles distracted them, they were welcome to point this out and we’d adjust. I expected them to be equally courteous to others if they were distracted.
I expected the intellectual freedom questions, the queries about accessibility and parent involvement. I didn’t expect to discuss jewelry. I think we’ll be doing fine next week.