Friday, January 20, 2012

The flexible line between educator and administrator

Flexibility within teaching is essential, educators need to be able to work quickly when lessons don't pan out as expected, throw new lessons together on the fly, and generally be open to change. However, the environment they are working in is anything but flexible. School days are planned carefully, sometimes down to the minute, with specific timeframes set out for specific activities. So, the question is, how can we be flexible within an inflexible environment?
In Kathy Hribar's article A Journey Towards Inquiry, she confronted this same question. The answer, as found by her, is to make small changes in your lessons. Big changes aren't necessary, small and simple steps, with time and patience will make the greatest difference. Doug Johnson takes a bit of a different tact, but comes to a similar conclusion, in his article Make Your Point-It's Good to Be Inflexible. As School Librarians, we are constantly being asked to prove our worth as both educators and members of the administration, how can we do this when teachers can choose to never take advantage of the services offered? We are forcing teachers, who might already have biases against the necessity of school libraries, to choose to go to the library amongst their already packed schedules. If we made it a natural part of the education system, where time was always set aside, we allow teachers and students the opportunity to explore what the library has to offer.
This flexibility of a school librarian is helpful when considering the role they can play with the administration of the school. Because they exist on the line between educator and administrator, librarians can present the outside eye on how scheduling works, but they also can work with a bigger cohort to help flesh out this perspective.
To me, this duality of roles is the most attractive part of being a school librarian. As a classroom teacher, it was particularly difficult to get outside of my classroom or department to see how the rest of the school worked. As a librarian, I hope to get outside this box and explore how the school works as a whole.


  1. "Duality" is a good word. It's what intrigued me about the job as well.

  2. Hmm- do we have control of scheduling? It was my understanding that fixed schedules were developed by administrators and in my experience, the librarian has little input into this. I guess with flexible scheduling there is some control, but you ARE at the mercy of teachers' schedules and needs. It would be important to maintain open lines of positive communication with all teachers to let them know when and where you are available and how you can help them further BOTH their goals and your goals.

  3. I've always been attracted to our many different jobs as librarians. I think it's part of what makes our job fun.


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