What is one thing you wish you were better at?

Blogging Challenge for School Librarians, Day 19

What is one thing you wish you were better at? Just one! Why? What could you do to improve in this area?

It's unbelievably hard to pick just one thing. While I feel like I have a handle on some things, there are just so many areas in my work as a school librarian that I'd like to improve. While I could explain away each one as an effect of the current state of the profession or even of my station in life as a wife and mommy, but that's not what this prompt is about. 

So, no excuses, just pure reflection. 

Image courtesy of Unsplash, under CC0

Image courtesy of Unsplash, under CC0

I wish I was better at finding ways to provide direct, planned instruction to students. I'm a teacher first, and I'm ashamed to admit that many days go by when I don't do much, if any, formal teaching. If teaching is like riding a bike, I spend a lot of time inspecting the tires, adjusting my basket, and oiling the chain. I look for ways to help other people ride their bikes. I spend a lot of time studying the best methods of riding the bike. But many days I don't actually get on the bike and ride it. 

I don't like that about my practice, and I'm working to improve it. 

There is a lot affecting this that I cannot do one stinking thing about, but here are a few things I can, and will, do:

  • I'm still reading and learning middle school curriculum. After almost 10 years in elementary school, I knew that COS like the back of my hand. I need to get these middle school standards in my head. Why would any content area teacher trust me with his or her students and valuable instructional time if I don't know their courses of study?
  • Instead of solely reactively scheduling the library in response to teachers' need of computers (which bypasses me entirely), I'll be trying to proactively bring them in by initiating conversations with teachers about their lesson plans and focus areas for the next weeks/months. Yes, even the math people. 
  • I'm going to flat out ask for teachers to let me at their students. I have to know the curriculum first and then have a working knowledge of teachers' pace, but ultimately what I want to improve on is having meaningful instructional time with students. Collaboration is the goal, of course, and I hope will continue to occur naturally. First, though, they will have to see me in action in order to respect me as a person worthy of instructing their students. *Though the risk here is that if teachers have no instructional responsibility, they're likely going to just use my time with their kids as their own planning or personal time. Fingers crossed.