Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Now is the winter of our discontent

Dear School Librarians,

Go read this post by Ms Yingling as she ponders Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child.

I loved Yingling's personal take on the five important things she strives to do for her students.

I loved her list because...

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;

Shakespeare. Richard The Third Act 1, scene 1, 1–4

It has been cold. Very cold. People are cranky.

School is back in full swing now. Benchmark testing is ramping up. January seems long but the real-deal state assessment tests are not far away. Each grading period offers the potential for disaster as paid-up Spring school trips hang in the balance.

School situations that parents worried about all Fall are about to become more fraught with peril for all concerned as (teachers, fine arts directors, coaches, administrators, crossing guards, bus drivers, or cafeteria workers) either pick the "other" kid in the audition/tryout, or give the grade, or make the comment, or write the note that will send the parents stomping to the (department head, principal, or school board) to complain.

When things swerve out of control in daily life, people seek control in other areas and often that means a narrowed gaze at the library books their children are reading. Book challenges in schools happen for all kinds of reasons but usually the least of them is the book itself. It is rarely JUST about the book.

Think now, before the Spring thaw--what can you do to attract parental good will and student involvement? As librarians we need to be the "children of York" making the "winter" into the glorious summer for our students.

Hopefully your program is thriving as you:

  • book-talk,
  • teach and plan lessons,
  • purchase library materials
  • present to parent groups,
  • mentor students and faculty,
  • catalog,
  • serve on committees,
  • troubleshoot your automation system,
  • attend professional meetings,
  • plan and carry out book fairs, author visits and reading programs,
  • supervise student workers, parent volunteers, and library aides.

But on those days you are feeling overwhelmed, just try for
Ms Yingling's Five


Ms. Yingling said...

Wow. I'm glad that you liked my post. We all need a lot of support to get through the winter, and it's great that we can connect to other librarians and readers through the blogosphere. You made my morning!

Susan T. said...

thanks for linking to Mrs. YIngling's post. I like that book flinging image. Very apt!

It's very cold, I am cranky, and I am not usually cranky this early in the winter. I will focus instead on what I CAN do, instead of kvetching about the rest.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I doubt anyone would challenge you, what with that dragon you keep around and everything.

You make a good point about book challenges. I get them rarely, but when I do, I really, really have to take a deep breath and bear this in mind.