Ode to a Quiet Morning

I’m sitting in a Calculus classroom a building and a floor away from the library as I proctor the PSAT for my advisees. Last week was Homecoming/Spirit week, and this two and a half hours of silence sitting in one space feels so luxurious. With routine library duties and beginning to teach research “boot camp” to all freshmen on top of “other duties as needed,” I sometimes feel like one of those Stretch Armstrong dolls of the 1980s (Sorry I don’t go back as far as The Brady Bunch, David Wee). 🙂 Last year, I was interviewed by a current MLIS grad student for his Acquisitions class. It was such a polite and well-researched interview about selection guides and collection evaluation forms. It was everything I remember from my graduate program about an idealized library world. Truth is, if you catch me in the right mood on most days and request a book for your class, I’m happy to place it in my cart in Titlewave while you’re standing right in front of me. No form needed. Thinking back on the last week — remember Spirit Week — and I recall items that were never discussed in library school. Number one, being out on the 40 yard line at 9pm on a Friday night lining up Homecoming court candidates under the bright lights while the pep band played “You’re Just Too Good to be True.” I couldn’t get one of my favorite 90s movies, 10 Things I Hate about You, out of my head for the rest of the weekend! But also these questions:

      “Can you help me get reimbursed for this shower curtain that we’re using for our class banner?”

            “How would you get paint off the Bio Lab floor if it spilled even though we have a dropcloth?”

            “Do we have the tiara and crown for the Homecoming King and Queeen? And the ballots? And pens for the voting?”

            “Do you think this dress is too short? Can I dance in it?”

            “Can you help me staple this costume together because it’s coming apart and the leaves are dropping everywhere? “

Because yes, all of this was done in costume, supporting themes for each day along our Hollywood movies theme. Spirit Week Best Dressed PixarAnd here’s where I wax poetic about my love for my job, whether it’s putting staples in the stapler or editing student work or helping a teacher log onto Overdrive for the first time. I can honestly say that I can never predict how a day will turn out, and it’s hard to be bored when you’re surrounded by the energy of teenagers. You can’t deny a camaraderie with teachers who are willing to collaborate on joint costumes! Besides, photo sessions are a great time to check in about how courses are going and when you can stop into classrooms.DalmationsThis email arrived two weeks ago, after the seniors on the swim team asked if teachers would come to their final home meet of the season. The pool is 10 minutes west of campus, and the meet started at 4:30 on a Wednesday afternoon. There were at least seven teachers there supporting the kids. And one of the parents wrote this note to the headmaster and athletic director that evening.

 I just wanted to tell you how impressive the faculty turnout and support was today at the District Swim Meet where our Seniors were being honored!  The swimmers were so cute and animated when they saw the various teachers (AND spouses) watching and cheering around the pool.  The swimmers were hollering and waving and pointing out the teachers to fellow teammates.  I sat next to the parents of a Manatee High School swimmer who commented on the fact that our teachers took the time to attend the meet and support “their” students.  I mean this in the nicest way, but I know as a parent I am exhausted at the end of the day and I don’t necessarily want to go to an after school activity/sport for my own child, but I do because I am the parent!  The devotion of our teachers to show up and support their STUDENTS is not only uplifting and touching (not to mention ALL the teachers had smiles and genuinely seemed HAPPY to be there and acted like there was NO better place to be), but their presence is also TRULY APPRECIATED by students and parents!

 I love that there are no names mentioned, just the thrill that this parent experienced by seeing faculty support. I’m guessing that even though she’s the only one that wrote in expressing these sentiments, other parents feel the same way. When I’m stressing that I should be working on cataloging or phoning back a vendor in my office, I keep this email in mind. Students notice if you support them outside the classroom and outside the library. Might it also be beneficial to run with the cross country team, watch a volleyball team, chaperone the Homecoming dance, bake cupcakes for advisees, or eat lunch with Middle Schoolers? Connections can start outside the library doors and strengthen library programming.Doctor Octopus in the LibrarySo get involved, play along, have fun, and happy PSAT morning!

4 thoughts on “Ode to a Quiet Morning

  1. We too are proctoring PSATs today, and I’m also enjoying the quiet. On the flip side, I (usually) enjoy the crazy, too, and you’ve done a great job illustrating the joys of “Other Duties As Needed”. One reason I love working where I do is: you never know what is coming next. I think of positions I had in grad school and after, at Boalt Law Library, for example, where I worked in acquisitions tasks all day long. There were catalogers whose primary focus was Central European legal titles. It works for some people, I guess, but I love the variety and serendipity of our world in an independent school library. Thanks for a great post as a reminder!

  2. Funny! I think 45 minutes on “Central European Legal Titles” is about what I could take in a day. Right now I’m teaching the same lesson four times each day, and that’s about my limit for repetition. But it takes all kinds…

    • Ha! I learned when I was younger that despite the commercial’s claims he can tear a bit if stretched too far in cold weather. And also patched with a bandaid to be good as new.

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