This year I’m headed to the classroom. I’ll be teaching fifth grade reading, language arts, and social studies at the same school where I was the librarian for the past 3 years.
Why? I’ll just grit my teeth and remind everyone that sometimes upholding the values of intellectual freedom and the best interest of the students carry costs – like the wrath of an administrator who has the absolute power to reassign teachers to any classroom for which they are certified.
Now what? This year I plan to keep my eyes open for school library positions or Ph.D. programs elsewhere while I become the absolute best, most connected fifth grade teacher possible who helps her students succeed.
The first thing I unpacked in the classroom was the computer and connected it to the digital projector and internet. Second, I unpacked 1/10 of the books I intend to introduce throughout the year. I need to purchase many more book shelves including face-out spin-arounds in order to display a portion of the other titles. Third, I put up motivation signs. Fourth, I signed up for Scholastic Book Clubs. Fifth, I opened the teacher guides and looked at state standards. Then, I panicked on how to setup the pacing guides. Sixth, I began preparing innovative technology connections to inspire readers.
The good: I have wonderful teacher colleagues who share everything from resources to discipline strategies. My students will be excited and become the best readers I can help them to be. My friends will help me pace instruction since I demand high standards of attempting tough challenges, being creative, and learning how to survive socially in middle school.
The bad: I will be in the same building where I helped create the largest collection of nonfiction titles in Nashville, but I won’t be able to work with every student like before. There are a few more items in this column, but to prevent my eyes from suddenly springing leaks, I have decided to focus on the good.
Interestingly in the fourteen years I have taught as a library information specialist (AKA school librarian) in Nashville, I have had grades PreK-4, and 6-8. To remember teaching fifth graders I’ll have to think back to my time with DoDDS schools in Germany and with the super-talented teachers at Sherwood School in Highland, Park, Illinois. I wonder if Carl Berg and Martha Henderson are still teaching because they were inspiration fifth grade teachers.
Readers, I am still a librarian. That is my profession, my passion, and my love. I will continue to review books and actually have several presentations on “Making Nonfiction Exciting to Tweens and Teens” planned for this fall.
Since I haven’t been in a classroom since the four-year old program on Fort Campbell, Kentucky, fifteen years ago, I will be seeking a great deal of help. I hope this experience will help me become a much better librarian for the future.
If you see me on facebook or in person, please note that sometimes my demeanor may seem as if I have been banished from paradise (the library), but I intend to create an alternate world of library love in a fifth grade classroom. Wish me well and stay tuned for updates.