I threw down the gauntlet to my mentor, Katie Day last night. She who taught me all I know about being a teacher librarian in the weeks and months that I sat by her side while doing my MIS and part of my M.Ed before I was thrust into the world of a library of my own. I was mentioning how I was a little shocked and disappointed at the standard of writing of Masters’ level students, and she mentioned that in her current position she was seeing more student writing and had decided to give that a focus this school year. I have a mentor group for the first time this year, and I want to try to emulate a wonderful teacher in my previous position, Christene, who used back and forth journalling with her G6 class as a way of getting to know them deeper, while developing their writing and depth of thought – particularly over what they were reading.
Now Katie is a phenomenal librarian – probably one of the best in the Asian international school network. She suffers from one immense flaw generally – the fact that she doesn’t market herself, and currently, she’s gone silent and no longer stimulates and challenges the rest of our thinking frequently enough through her blog. This is where a biblical reference is most apt – that of hiding your light under a bushel. Like most newbies to a profession, I’m still greedy for knowledge and advancing my skills and look to thought-leadership in the field to advance my own understanding. So, the blogging challenge is on – at least a blog a week between now and Christmas.
In our first week at school, we were asked to do a Strengths Finder test – I’ve done one previously, but this was a different one. I found it a little repetitive as it kept bringing up the same questions differently phrased – I know, internal validity and all that. And then was a little surprised – bearing in mind the results of a previous such test – when the top strength spat out at me was “writing”. I immediately wanted to reject this, as actually I do precious little writing in my job. And it sounded such a stagnant non-sexy non-innovative type of thing that I felt undervalued me as a thinking, teaching, doing, researching, active professional.
As a librarian I read a prolific amount, a lot of it mediocre if I have to be honest, and I’ve always said that you’d never find me writing a book, in response to everyone who asks. I know enough authors to know that besides anything, it’s a poorly paid mugs’ game where you spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to get out there and promote the book rather than write – plus the financial returns are so poor that you inevitably need a second or third career to sustain your writing. So I don’t actually see myself as a writer. But then I realised, that I’ve been blogging now for 15 years, and that actually I have a need to write my experience. And I’m forever encouraging students and fellow professionals to do the same.
So here goes everyone – if you still have a blog out there – dust it off, start writing, or continue writing! Post your URL’s in the comments so we can follow and comment on each other’s posts.