Middle school librarians are a special kind of superhero.
The first librarian I worked with has powers of high emotional intelligence. She had visited my class during my first year of teaching to run a book pass. Later that day, she sent me the most affirming email I have ever received as an educator. And she copied the principal. Librarians get it.
The librarian I’ve known the longest is purely magical. She has planned lessons for me. She has taught my class with me. She has created step-by-step directions for using technology I didn’t know how to use. And, the most magical, she integrated theater into my class on multiple occasions in order to help students (many who had disabilities) better understand what they were reading. Librarians get it.
Librarian super hero #3 has matchmaking powers. I would email or call or slip a note in her box with a student name and list of interests. Oftentimes within that very hour, a stack of books chosen for that particular student would appear. Her powers to make readers out of the most reluctant students is awe-inspiring. Librarians get it.
Making friends with these school heroes has been a life saver. So grateful.
I had a stellar principal my first year of teaching. Here are some things she did that helped validate my new career choice.
1. She visited my classroom often and would immediately follow-up with things she liked and ONE question for me to ponder.
2. She made me feel like I could try things and take risks. She acknowledged that teaching is hard.
3. She made sure I was set up with a mentor teacher in the building.
4. She didn’t ask me to do anything extra. She told me that my only focus should be my students and collaborating with other teachers in service of my students.
5. She publicly shared something she had seen me do that she liked.
I want my principal to know me, know what I do, and give me feedback. Here is what I do:
- Visit their office in the morning to say hello. Most of the time it’s super quick as I grab copies or check my mailbox. I don’t make this a time to talk shop unless they initiate it.
- Invite them into the classroom within the first 6 weeks and then try to make a habit out of it. I send a short email invite. They don’t come every time but they do when they can.
- Ask for feedback after each visit.