Another new management tool I’ve been trying out this is year a note system. Of course we have email but as the library teacher, I’m often being asked questions in passing or have notes left on my desk from both teachers and students. I also had several experiences last year where I ran into a teacher, student, or administrator and they said “I was looking for you earlier but you weren’t in the library!”. It was never accusatory but I didn’t like the idea of someone, especially an administrator, looking for me and not knowing why I’m not in the library. By not being in the library it felt like I was appearing to not be “doing my job”. As you know, library teachers don’t just sit at their desk the library checking in books! However, not everyone knows that or really understands all those little extra things we do when we’re not actively teaching a class. For example:
- in my district, we have half days on Tuesday for professional development so I’m often out of the building at different meetings
- in my district, library teachers present professional development workshops
- I attend trainings so I can teach and support classroom teachers as they learn new technology tools
- my school has been implementing Responsive classroom this year so I have been attending a Morning Meetings for up to 40 minutes in the mornings I don’t start teaching right away
- I spend a lot of time troubleshooting technology in the classrooms
- I go into the classrooms to work on collaborative projects
- I have to make copies for 21 classes, laminate, use the paper cutter, and all the other prep for teaching that takes time out of the library
- I set up for other people’s presentations
- I have meetings with other teachers, grade level teams, and administrators
- I have to travel to other schools for peer observations of other library teachers
This year I’ve been leaving a sign saying I’m away from the library and to leave a note. I say if I’m at a PLC in another building, visiting a classroom, etc.
So far, it’s been really helpful for me. I have organized notes instead of people searching for scrap paper or leaving a note where I might not see it right away (I have a circ desk where this is but I also have an office). I know an administrator could find me if they needed to or will see that I’m doing something important when I’m not in the library. It also tells me if a student came down and needed help when I wasn’t there. The hardest part has been remembering to leave out the message when I leave the room! I’ve been trying to do it for anything and everything just to build the habit and that seems to be helping me.
Do you have a message system?