I spent yesterday helping the new librarian at my former school. She is very nice but very overwhelmed so when she called to ask for help, I just couldn't say no. (I even gave up a day of sewing with friends for this if you can believe that!)
School starts on Monday and I, wisely, have scheduled to spend the day with the most perfect grandchild in the world. Otherwise, I know that I would have "volunteered" to get her started on her first day and that would not have been good for either of us.
What did I learn? You can go home again but it isn't the same. I feel good about getting her started with the database update for the students. I worked from 8:30 to 5 and we managed to update grades 1 through 5. She will need to do kindergarten on her own but it is doable. Some of the teachers stopped in to visit and some barely acknowledged me in the hallway but that is nothing new. Some administrators were more pleased to see me than others...again, nothing new. I was able to see a couple of favorite former students and be reassured that they are ready for life after Binion.
The most important thing that I learned from yesterday is that I am glad I was able to retire. Financially, things may be tough for awhile and we might have to give up some trips that I hoped we could take but my sanity is worth more than money. The library schedule for the coming year is ten times worse than anything that I have been a part of in my 20+ year in education. "Teaching" kinders for 45 minutes with no teacher assist would be torture. I know that some of you have kindergarten students for 8 hours but your rooms and lessons are set up for this. The library is an all-purpose room for all grades. The schedule is not set up so that the librarian can develop "centers" for the primary grades because her next class could be a 5th grade class...don't even think about 11 year olds with play-doh! And she has absolutely no breaks in her day. Yes, she has a duty free lunch but that comes after her daily lunchroom monitoring assignment (during which the library is closed!). Yes, she has a daily conference period but it is at a different time every day. I am not sure when she is going to be able to even go to the restroom as there are no "passing" periods scheduled between classes. I know that this schedule was devised so that the teachers have more time to plan together and collaborate. I understand the importance of that but there is no time for the librarian to collaborate with the teachers and that is what librarianship should be all about. We are an extension of the classroom and need to reinforce what is being taught. That cannot happen when there is no time in the day to even chat with a teacher.....oops...remember, Judy, you retired....this doesn't concern you anymore.
So...will I go back again...I am not sure. I will continue to check in with Mrs. V but I need to learn to let it go and let her develop her own plan. And I will not go in to help her shelve the 1000+ books that will circulate in her 6 day schedule....shelving is one of the things that I hated the most about my job. But I am glad that I went in yesterday....John will much happier coming home to a somewhat bored wife than to a raving lunatic. And we might actually talk about something other than school.