Monday, August 24, 2009

It begins.... Random thoughts about the start of the school year

I'm guessing no one is reading this blog anymore, since it's no longer a class assignment for anyone. I'm going to post, anyway. Someone said a blog is for one's own reflection, so I guess that's what mine will be. ( - ;

Today was the official start to the school year for teachers and staff. The kids (1st through 5th) start tomorrow. The kindergartners start next week.

For the last few days, I've been thinking that I should be feeling sad about not having a classroom, but I don't. I was ready to leave the classroom and am so happy to be here in the library. There are so many little things that I don't have to worry about! No lunch menus to pass out, no lunch cards to keep track of, pick up notes, bus numbers, who goes to Kids Klub and on what days, where should I hang the birthday chart, writing kids' names over and over and and over and over.... Nope - don't miss it one bit.

Considering the fact that I had no classes today, I ran my @$$ off! We got 12 new SMART boards installed in our building this summer. My dad and I came in this weekend and spent many hours making sure all the wires were hooked up properly, bluetooth connections were synced, document cameras were operational, and so on. This morning, I tried to check in with everyone who had gotten a new SMART board to make sure they were comfortable with the set up. Then, I got email messages from people who had SMART boards last year that couldn't remember how to hook them up! I feel like an expert now. They're not all hooked up 100% ideally, but they all work AND the document cameras are working as well.

I had to laugh at myself because I was so worried that I'd get less exercise by being on the first floor and not doing the stairs all the time... I bet I ran up and down the stairs twice as much as I would have on a normal day teaching third grade. I'm sure things will settle down once the kids get here, but I didn't sit down today for hardly a minute. I didn't even get my computer turned until after 2:30!

I met with HR this afternoon, and it may turn out that I don't have to student teach after all. Our HR director doesn't think a Type 10 certificate is necessary to teach in the library at the elementary level. This would relieve a big worry - mainly, how does one pay bills with no paychecks for five weeks!?!? Yes, five weeks. I had to add another week because apparently, I also have to do 40 hours of observation even before I can student teach. Honestly, that I wouldn't mind so much. In fact, if I decide not to go for my Type 10, I may still take some time to observe in other elementary libraries. The best would be to spend a whole day hanging out in each of the school libraries here in Barrington. We'll see!

At our staff meeting today, I asked Scott for 10 minutes to talk about the library. I was going to talk about "procedures," but that seemed so boring. Instead, I gave a quick Top Ten Things in the Library list! I don't know if I said this all in less than ten minutes, but I tried! Here's my list

10 Batteries - come to the library to get replacement batteries for school equipment such as wireless headphones, digital cameras, and remote controls. We will also take batteries for recycling. Do NOT send your student to the library for batteries in their own camera because they filmed their friends on the bus ride to school and used up the batteries!
9 Magazines - the library has magazines available for check out for both kids and teachers. We have a subscription to Mailbox so come check out current as well as older copies to aid in your planning. Remember, any Rose School staff member can check items out of the library - this includes aides and other classified staff!
8 AV - The library is home to all audio/visual equipment including DVD/VCR players, televisions, headphones, cassette players, CD players, and LCD projectors. If you need one of these items or some AV equipment needs maintenance or repair, let Marilyn and I know. Apparently SMART boards fall into the AV category, so please see me with your SMART issues.
7 Computer Lab - With the TSA schedule being flexible this year, the lab will have more opportunities for use. We're going to have a sign-up so that classes can come and use the computer lab if needed. Of course, my library classes will be using the computers as well.
6 Videos - Many more videos are available for check out. In the Picture Book section, you can see that there are many literature based videos on the top shelf. The non-fiction videos are now housed on the shelf directly above the books on that topic. So, if you're looking at plant books, for instance, you can just go above the books to see the videos we have on plants.
5 Books - of course, we have lots of great books in the library for checkout. Bonus - Marilyn will be happy to fix any of your classroom books that need repair!
4 Databases - The Barrington school district has spent a lot of money on some really great databases for both students and teachers. Throughout the year, I will have opportunities for you to learn about some of the great resources that are available online.
3 Science Materials - I moved the science materials to the other side of the bookcases so they are more visible. We have microscopes, balance scales, electronic scales, digital microscopes that can be displayed on your SMART boards, weights, and even science lesson books available for checkout.
2 Professional Development Collection - Our library has a professional development collection available to you. If you're looking for a book on a particular topic, check here - we may have it. Our collection includes back issues of Mailbox magazine.
1 Marilyn and I - We're your best resource here in the library. Please come to us with your questions and requests! We can get book bags from the Barrington Area Library, inter library loans, pull books on a certain subject, or find just the right video. Please email requests to both Marilyn and I at the same time so we don't duplicate requests.

So, tomorrow I start with fifth grade, third grade, fourth grade, then first grade. I am so excited! My goals for the first month in the library are: get to know the kids, make sure we're all clear on policy and procedures, and learn how to order a book! (I still don't know how to do that....)


  1. I'm still here-and I still post, too!!

    it sounds like you're off to a great year!!

  2. Thanks, Ann. I read your posts, too. Sounds like you are doing your internship!

  3. Hi Pam:

    I'm back after a short break. Wow, it sounds like you are off and running this school year. You sound so excited that I can't wait for my turn next year. In terms of your Type 10, I spoke with the program secretary and she said that b/c you are already working in a library, you will only have to complete 15 hours of observation hours and 4 weeks of an internship. Your internship could be broken up into 2 two week sessions. You can also do them during Spring Break in other districts which means that you will only have to take one week off. You can also complete them during the summer at a CPS year-round school. Just something to think about b/c you do not want to be one of those people who come back after a few years trying to finish up their Type 10 and find out that the requirements have changed and they now have to take additional coursework.

    Anyway, I hope that you continue to be as enthusiatic and excited about your new role throughout the year and keep posting so the rest of us can keep learning from you!

  4. Thanks for the information, Judith. I might end up being one of those people. I met with our HR guy and he said I don't need a Type 10 to have this job. I'm leaning towards not getting it. My principal would rather I not take a leave of absence. I REALLY appreciate you checking on that for me! That was so nice of you. It's nice to know others are thinking of me.