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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

If you hit a Bad Day?

If you write a blog, participate in Social Media, tweet, skype, or chat on facebook, your life is public. When things are going well, everyone can celebrate with you. When things don’t go as smoothly, you have choices how you can react.

  1. You can share it all openly. This could result in several scenarios:
    • Others commiserate and help you get through it.
    • Others empathize and suffer along with you.
    • Others rejoice in your difficulties and make it worse.
    • Others just don’t care and wait for you to move on.
    • Things get better and you get embarrassed that you shared.
  2. You can hide what’s happening and pretend everything is “better”.
  3. You can ignore it and work even harder than ever to prove nothing is wrong.
  4. You can focus on developing a plan to make sure things improve and stay that way.

Those choices seem easy, but we librarians seldom take the easy road. Instead we develop a wide array of coping mechanisms. How do you deal?

Here are some situations that I am aware of occurring that give opportunities for coping:

  • Librarians losing their jobs
  • Budgets being cut
  • Librarians treated as babysitters, not teachers
  • Librarians being sent to classrooms
  • Books being removed
  • Qualified, eager librarians seeking positions and not getting interviewed
  • Librarians having huge numbers of extra duties added to their workload
  • IT personnel overseeing and overfiltering library patron activities
  • Ebooks being acquired without the benefit of the librarian’s expertise in collection development
  • Legislators passing oppressive laws and not providing funds to enable success
  • Teachers struggling and needing extra support
  • Librarians facing intellectual freedom challenges that threaten their jobs
  • Legislators considering passing the “Don’t say Gay” bill to forbid mention of homosexuality before high school
  • your suggestions?

What would you add to this list?

Comments

  1. I’d like to comment on “Librarians being treated as babysitters, not teachers”

    I feel that it’s not only Librarians that are treated as babysitters, but all teachers as a whole. I’m not going to mention any particular schools, but I have been fortunate to be able to volunteer working in a few different school libraries and have noticed how the teachers today absolutely have their hands tied as far as being able to conduct their classrooms in an orderly fashion. One, the classrooms are definitely overcrowded. If a student is misbehaving in a classroom; all the teacher can do is shift them off to another teacher’s classroom which makes that teacher’s job that much harder. Whatever happened to being able to discipline a student that doesn’t listen?

    If a student is having difficulties in a certain subject, a teacher can no longer stop and help that individual student, instead the schools now have what they call “outside tutoring”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a student getting the extra help they need, but when you have a tutoring class of 15 to 20 students at a time, where is the 1 on 1 help? There is no way a teacher can give the undivided attention that a student may need to be able to understand a particular problem if she/he has to help all the other 14 or 19 students at the same time. And if the teacher does stop to help that one student, she/he is now neglecting the other 14 or 19 students that may also need individual help.

    Today’s school life in reality is quite different from that of ten years ago. State school teachers on a daily basis have to deal with severe and sometimes brutal pupils’ behavior. The jokes go far beyond a healthy sense of humor, offensive comments, ridicule and deliberate provocation is only a fraction of what the teacher is facing in its work. Unfortunately, even when bell rings, bullying does not stop, and students often capture videos of what they call “interesting situations” in the classroom or in the hallway with their mobile phones, then they upload and share that video material for the whole society to see and judge; web visitors watch those very “funny” situations, and share their “observations” not only about the situation itself, but about the subtleties of teachers work. Is this kind of publicizing without prejudice to the rights of the teacher? Does a teacher want to see her/his face in “you tube”?

    Teachers’ rights protection – one of the most painful problems of today’s teachers. Today the emphasis is put on children’s rights, but it is always forgotten about the adults – teachers’ rights. It seems like they are particularly valued as a free youth service providers – the servants.

    The Teacher’s specialty is not as prestigious as, say, a banker, judge, or lawyer; also teachers’ salaries after all, are nowhere near when compared to those mentioned above. Students view towards the teacher is brought from the family. If the family says that the teacher is stupid, old-fashioned, boring, this entire attitude is brought to school and shared with all class. And if the attitude is formed by the class leader, everyone else supports it and doesn’t even care to think if its reality or just a subjective opinion. Other pupil supports for the sole reason that they do not want to become the object of ridicule. Then it usually is interpreted as expressing an opinion, democracy, freedom of speech and so on. Due to the AYP and API and so many other alphabet-crazy restrictions, teachers must teach to the state tests or they (and the principals of the schools) are held dearly accountable.

    In the past in the traditional classroom, a teacher was told what, when and how to teach and now in this new era were told the teachers do not have those restrictions. This too is not true for our schools. The programs that dominate a lot of classrooms have a very specific script and timeline that a teacher must follow even to the point of restricting parental volunteers during that block of teaching time.

    I agree that the most respected teachers realize that students need to be more interactive and make the learning more meaningful so it takes root and grows with the students. Again, due to testing requirements and budgeting this is very hard to accomplish in today’s society. One-fourth of our education is shot down by the budget woes of our state and probably a lot of other states in our great nation.

    Another area where I find it difficult to totally understand is when our educational system is talking about the opportunities available to students across the board. There are many teachers in lower SES areas that would jump at the chance to have the world opened up to their students. This is not a reality for them though.

    In my opinion, if the politicians and parents across the board would realize that educating students (high SES along with lower SES) is a top priority, some of the ideas that they have outlined would indeed be feasible to implement. Until the state does not require teachers to teach to the test and more students have access to the technological advances that most of us take for granted – this is just more rhetoric. When we consider that Special Education students have to take a test to get out of high school covering material that they have never seen due to their inability to comprehend it, when we stop denying students the help they need because they don’t have a large enough deficit between their ability and their knowledge, then – and only then – will teachers and librarians be able to begin to teach students as individuals and as unique people instead of just being an educational baby sitter.