I’ve been struggling to figure out what to write about this month. While I’ve been doing a lot of professional development, I don’t know what to do with all of it yet, which is nothing new. Therefore, what follows is a lot about the reality that, “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING…”
I’m guessing that some of you are probably on summer break, and some of you may be finally finishing up with school year 2015-2016. Our school calendar is a bit of an oddity in that we finished school in May, had a week off, and are already in our second week of summer school.
As a very young child, summer for me meant “summer fun” (day camp). As I got older, it became pretty clear that I was a student for whom learning didn’t come very easily–old report cards indicate that I read extremely poorly until sometime in about the 5th grade. I think that starting sometime around the 4th grade instead of summer fun, I was always enrolled in summer school classes to help me catch up to my peers. School wasn’t easy, but I was blessed with good teachers and enough parental cajoling, love, support, and demand that I always managed to make it through.
I know that others’ experiences may be different, but it’s pretty clear that, for me, the adult that I’ve become is, fundamentally, not so very different than the struggling learner I was as a child. I’ve wondered recently, whether all of those schooling and learning struggles were just ways for the universe to prepare me for life as a school librarian because I don’t know about the rest of you, but…everyday I wake up, get dressed, and come to work, and spend most of my day secretly feeling deep down inside that, “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING…”
As of the end of May, I’ve been an educator for 29 years–16 of which have been as a librarian. As a 20 year old with a newly minted BEd, I stood in front of my 22 first graders on the first day of school and thought, “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING…”
I SO MUCH didn’t know what I was doing that I kept taking classes to figure all the teaching and learning stuff out until I ended up with a second Ed degree and still, I thought, “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING…”
Through a whole bunch of weird twists and detours, I ended up in library school and a job as a middle school librarian and thought, “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING…” and then 14 years later moved into my current job where we’ve already established that, “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING…”
I actually feel like I could probably end this post right here with “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING…” but clicking the publish button here would take more guts than I actually possess so I’m going to qualify this a bit before pressing publish.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING…” because in a world where the way information is created, published, disseminated, accessed, and used is, literally, changing everyday…
- What does it mean to be “information literate?”
- What does it mean to be “college ready?”
- Are colleges truly doing a good job of preparing young adults to be thoughtful and productive citizens?
- If no, do we continue to build PK-12 curriculum around helping students be “college ready” or do we bravely go where other schools have not?
- How much of my collection should be eBooks vs. print vs. databases vs. audiobooks?
- What platforms should I use to host my eBooks and audiobooks?
- How many eBook and audiobook platforms is too many?
- Should I have my own “library research process” like Big6 or ISP or should we be aiming to contextualize library skills/concepts/tasks into a broader framework like Design Thinking?
- Is it okay to rip the DVD of our legal copy of Supersize Me so students can view it within Vialogues on our Moodle site?
- Guidelines don’t count. I want someone to tell me yes or no and if they’re wrong, they get fired or sued instead of me.
- Is the return on investment for EBSCO Discovery worth it by measurably getting many more student eyeballs on my expensive database content or is it still a not-quite-ready-for-prime-time thing that everybody is excited about and signing on for until two years from now when we’ll all want to move on to something else that is still not-quite-ready-for-prime-time?
- I know library research skills are necessary and important for students’ future success, but how do I get teachers to believe what I believe?
- Why do we have to change libraries into “Learning Commons” rather just calling them libraries and adding/evolving the functionality and work that happens within a “library?” (Modern hospitals seem to still be called “hospitals” without the messy historical baggage associated with the fact that physicians used to use leeches to suck blood from sick people. Things change, people, move on!).
- Is coffee bad for me or is it good? What about salt? Butter? I’m a librarian. If I can’t figure out what to eat or not eat, how am I supposed to teach students in a health class what sources of information are to be believed?
- MLA 8 has landed. Should I stay with MLA 7 for this year or make the jump in August?
- Easybib Schools got murdered. Easybib Scholar didn’t look worth the cost difference for my school needs so we planned to migrate to NoodleTools, but now Easybib whatever it is called now is, supposedly, free. Go or stay?
- What am I not doing that I should be doing? I don’t know what I don’t know…
Okay, so, that’s just a small sampling of my particular brand of crazy-librarian-mind-thinking and that’s what I mean when I say, “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING…”
Please click on the comment link and weigh in.
- Do you actually feel like you know what you’re doing? How did you get to that space?
- What do you do to make decisions when you feel like you don’t yet know all that you need to know, but have to make a decision one way or another?
Somebody at least post a comment if only because otherwise I’ll spend the rest of the summer worrying that:
- I have no idea what I am doing…
- I’m the only one that has no idea what he is doing…
Happy summer, all!
By the way, the AISL Summer Institute Design Thinking @ Your Library hosted by Katie Archambault at the Emma Willard School in Troy, NY starts in a week! Hope to see you there, but if you can’t make it this year follow the goodness at #aislSI16