I have started a new school year in a new school with a new staff and a new position. I am going to be a teacher librarian in a K-8 school. It is a small school with a delightful and enthusiastic staff. I am happy to be there. My first few days were ones of some trepidation and reluctance. I was wondering how my staff would be and if they would be willing to work with me. I had the good fortune of seeing some of my previous year’s staff on the first day and they offered me their encouragement. It was very good to be bridged from the old to the new.
One of the crucial parts to the job of teacher librarian is the ability to work with colleagues. I can be…out-spoken and opinionated. I am striving to reign myself in. I don’t want to compromise my strongly held beliefs but I don’t want to start my year by offending my main partners in this new pursuit. I am reflecting on my attempts to not talk too much and listen more and wonder why I even set this as a goal. The words just pour out. Someone asks a question and I have a contribution. Why is that? I think, in part, it is a striving to please – they want a response and I am willing to give one. I need to remember that others sometimes need wait time – time to reflect in order to respond and just as my students’ thinking is short changed if someone gives the quick answer, so is my colleagues thinking short-changed if I give the quick answer. Or is it? I suppose it is if there is only one answer but when there is more than one, does the first answer inspire more answers or stop them? Can I help to bridge from a confused silence to a partial answer with my responses? I am hoping my conversation and ease with sharing ideas will be a bridge because my ability to sit by and listen is limited.
One of my new colleagues is new to her position. As a result, she has been very willing to accept my beginning offers of help. She has helped to bridge my fears of being incompetent by allowing me to feel useful. I have offered materials, guided her to online resources, set up some shortcuts on her desktop, found her a quick suggestion for a read aloud. It is good to be needed.
My past colleagues gave me encouragement, my current colleague gives me confidence. Not a bad start to a new year.