Two weeks ago marked my first anniversary as a school librarian. As I reflect on the past year, I wonder if I have been neglecting the “big picture.”
Coming to education libraries from government libraries was a big change, and I admit I did not know the first thing about education when I began. Instead of reading widely in pedagogical theory, however, I looked to the leaders in school libraries and brushed up on current education initiatives in Scotland. I believed anything qualified teachers or experienced school librarians told me because they were the experts, right?
Since I am not a qualified teacher, I was inclined to take anything a classroom teacher told me at face value. I read school policies unquestioningly and tried to memorise curriculum standards. Although I received some helpful and valuable advice from teaching colleagues, I now realised that I approached this in the wrong way. I now see that it would have been much more valuable to read widely on issues of school reform, comparative education, and pedagogical theory in order to place school libraries in proper context.
Working in education is not a paint-by-numbers activity. It seems glaringly obvious as I write this now, but one does not learn to become an effective educator/school librarian simply by following models, standards, how-to guides, and rules. I need to be able to familiarise myself with the important debates surrounding and form my own opinions if I am to become a good school librarian. Am I the only one who failed to recognise this prior to working in schools?