Saturday, February 26, 2011

May can’t come soon enough

Wow.  It’s almost March and I have so much going on with these classes.  Not only do I have the two classes to work on, but I also have to get my portfolio finished as my final exam for the program.  My first attempt at it is the 9th.  For my classes, the Library Management one is doing fine.  I finished the first group of Reflection Diary entries and have our group getting organized (this teacher did like many and got our group put together for us already.)  My Librarians as Instructional Partners is another story.

So we have one group of High School Librarians together.  We had to get a trio, but then another girl needed into the group.  I said it was okay and get her set up for our group wiki, then the other two members pointed out that the professor may not want us to have four members.  So off I went to contact the professor about that. (How did this become my responsibility to begin with?)  While that was all going on, about six of us in the class were getting emails from the professor saying that we still hadn’t posted our partners for yet another project.  Sheesh.  So one girl from my High School Librarian group said she’d partner with me after I already told another girl in my class whom I’ve not worked with yet, that she could be my partner.  Of course, it ended up being my responsibility to contact the professor, see if we could have the same partner for more than one project.  There was major back and forth emailing with me and the two girls, plus these emails from the professor threatening that we need to post our partners or she would have to do it for us.  After we all sufficiently had chaos, I got the final email from the professor that we needed different partners for each group, and I confirmed that everything was go for the other girls in the class.

Yes, it’s confusing.  Yes, it’s a major pain.  I’m not the only one in the class who is making comments like “this is ridiculous”.  I even told the professor that I’d picked my partner and “a lot of us have been emailing back and forth trying to get this figured out. You can understand how getting organized for two partner projects at a time can get a bit confusing.”  The professor said before that she loves suggestions for improvement and there’s mine.  We’re confused and there’s too much going on.

But no matter.  I got into the Epsilon Omega Epsilon honour society.  I paid my $30 membership dues so I have this to put on my resume.  I wonder if it will mention that on my diploma. 

I’m still awaiting word from the library system if there are any volunteer positions open at any local branches.  I think my not being able to get into the school system here is just the reason I’ll need to get experience in the public library.  I was going to inquire about volunteering at the Children’s Book Museum but they wanted a whole police background check and then I could enquire with the museum.  As Steve said “there’s always one more thing that needs done before getting anything sorted.”  How true.  Nothing can ever be straightforward.  Granted, I understand the need for a police background check but I’d rather use my time on the library and getting a background check for them if they need it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On to Week 5

My first big assignment for Library Management will be on Monday.  I have to finish up my Reflective Diaries for Weeks 2-4.  So far everything in that class is going pretty well as far as I can see.  I’m getting my weekly discussions posted and I’m in a group where I don’t have to be a leader.

My other class, Librarians as Instructional Partners, is still dragging on as usual.  This week, my partner did all the work in one day in our Wiki, then when I typed up the paper, he submitted it online instead of keeping it in MLA format in a Word document.  This meant that the teacher could only see our online discussion and she “could only assume” that I didn’t do any work.  Very nice.  But I’m not going to worry about that class anymore.  Already I’ve received only 109 points out of 145 after only 4 assignments.  I’ve never had this kind of nit-picky rubric for every single thing we do.  It’s really over the top and I just don’t have the patience at this point to hear how I didn’t do this and didn’t do that.  I understand teacher’s wanting to have high expectations but this is ridiculous!

I’m almost to the finish line though.  I’ll take whatever grade the teacher wants to give me in the end, get my A or B in Library Management, grab my degree and run.

However, since I can’t work at a school anytime soon and library jobs are scarce, I’m wondering if this blog will be able to serve much purpose in the near future.  I may volunteer at the local library as I had mused about a while ago.  I will be getting a job in some capacity soon enough, I’m just not sure it’s going to be in any kind of library field.  We’ll see. 

I don’t think I want to bother with getting another degree right away after this term is over.  I just don’t like homework cutting into my quality at home now that I’m here with Steve.  Maybe after I’m all settled and can go to school like a normal person (in actual classrooms), I can get my English Literature degree as I had planned in 2003.  But that’s all in the distant future.  Right now I have a Master’s of Library Science to get finished!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Week 4 of my Final Term

So my classes aren’t even done with their third week and already I’ve had problems here and there.  My Librarians as Instructional Partners just seems like a lot of work and since my Library Management class is my main focus (the one I need to get my degree credits complete), I don’t want the Partners class to distract me.  I spoke to the professor who eased my worries a bit but it’s a big difference from Public Librarianship to School Librarianship.  With the school library there’s so much demand.  I understand, being a teacher myself that there would be an immense need for the school librarian to be versed in the curriculum, rubric, instruction, and standards for ever class that walked into the library.  Hence the workload is a lot.  Projects.  Partner projects. 

Library Management is the way my other classes have been.  I’ll post my Reflective Diary for my past few weeks in class that need to be submitted next Monday.  That will give an idea of the things I’m working on there.

I got a letter from Durham saying that they acknowledged my cancelled interview and that they were not able to allow as many students into the program as they were last year.  I guess I wouldn’t have gotten in despite my huge tuition fees or dazzling amount of credentials I had to show them at said interview.  My application was sent on to Sunderland but the tuition fees are deemed by the government so I can’t go into their program if they offered it to me anyway.  Oh well.

On a side note, I envy professors.  I wish there were something I was an expert in that I could just teach.  Well, I guess I kind of am with the writing/reading thing.  Wish I could just go back and get my M.A. in English Lit like I originally planned.  Well, maybe not.  Reading 10 novels in one month became a bit daunting too.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Going on Week 3

I found out today that since I’ve just arrived in the UK and only under a Visa, I can’t take my teacher training courses with “home” status tuition. I’d be shelling out $18k for two terms just to undergo training that will do nothing more than get me a teaching license in England.  Not worth it.  Ignorance was bliss for a while and I had this grand master plan how I’d work in the summer, then go back to school in the Fall.  Now I’m just going to have to work and keep on looking for a school online in the States to keep up my credentials until we get back.  Until then I’ll just have to try and find some kind of job without the Qualified Teacher Status here; teacher’s aide if they’ll let me.  I can always go to a temp agency or the Job Centre and find something non school related if the system won’t have me.

I’m now torn between the idea of getting an Learning and Technology degree from WGU (as the information states, this is for school media specialists) or the Ed Specialist program at Liberty University.

It’s mildly disappointing but it’s fine in the fact that I don’t have to try and force any kind of plans on myself.  Usually I’m full of organization and plans but now, heck, I can’t make any because I don’t know what’s around the corner.  I’m just enjoying being here with Steve and seeing what life, school and career offer me next.

So I have Librarians as Instructional Partners and Library Management as my courses this term.  So far I’m a bit disappointed with my “fun” class of the Instructional Partners class.  School Librarian classes before were cool.  This one is full of wikis with information all over the place instead of just in the main class webpage.  Then we have a ton of (groan) partner work.  (I should have known.)  But since it’s my last term, the class is paid for and it’s technically an elective, I’ll grin and bear it.  The Library Management class is my main focus so I have to get an A in that and grab that degree in May.  Hooray! Anyway, I did a few things for my class that I wanted to post.

Librarians as Instructional Partners Online Discussion

First, my Librarians as Instructional Partners class required me to make a short video of myself as a portrait of what kind of collaborator I am based on a couple of (not really accurate I don’t think) personality tests. 

My Jung Typology test says that I am an INFJ: Introverted 11%, Intuitive 25%, Feeling 38% and Judging 67%. I really don’t feel that is my personality at all, however. I find the term “judging” to sound harsh rather and assessing, carefully thinking through, planning and organizing, which is what I do. Hartzell Needs Assessment indicates a balance of needs for achievement, power and affirmation. I had four questions that I answered with a 1 or 2 on each section.

Secondly, today I had to post my reason for wanting to be a school librarian and, thus, collaborator with school teachers:

I love books and I love being important

It sounds silly but it’s true. I love the idea of being a go-to person of importance. I’ve been an English teacher. I’ve had librarians who are very helpful, on top of their game, and always willing to help. That’s the kind of librarian a teacher needs as a collaborator and as a kind of support system. I will say though, sadly, I’ve run into school librarians who weren’t as helpful when I needed interviews or help on assignments in my other classes. I want to do the best I can, learn as much as I can, and play a major role in the function of my future school. I love the idea of being the one whom people come to for help whether they are students or teachers. I know that principals rely a lot of the librarians for teacher training in new technologies or resources. The school librarian is an essential part of the school. My love for learning, literature and, let’s face it, books, is why I want to be a classroom-library collaborator.