leading from the library …

I have finished the formal elements to Teacher Librarian as Leader course:  my task is to complete the informal elements which consists of reflecting upon my learning from this semester.

The most interesting thing about this subject was that none of it was new to me – from 1995 – 2009 I had worked at St James Ethics Centre, managing their ethics in leadership programs.  So the information and intent (e.g. leading from the middle; moral purpose; inner locus of control; vision/mission statements) were very familiar, but what I lacked was some of the primary research and resources – this was good to get.

It was also good to reflect upon just how far I would go in managing difficult situations and personalities – where was the line between management and manipulation?  This was an example of where Emotional Intelligence ran into Ethical Intelligence and for me it had to be cashed out in the ethical, which of course linked back to locating your own moral purpose.

I was stumped for a while when trying to write the vision statement … my school had every technological advantage that others could only dream about; everyone has laptops; wifi throughout; online learning units; library website; the digital very much normalized.  How was I to write a vision statement that employed the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) as the change process when many of the teachers and students were more technologically proficient than I was!  The advice from my course leader, Roy, cleared the block and I was able to complete the task.

Perhaps the biggest learning for me is the importance of holding in mind the reason why something is done in the first place – in the time of innovation, teachers and students learned by doing in genuine excitement and collaboration: but after a time, they leave, taking their memories with them: all that is left is habit – without the excitement – everything is taken for granted.  In my school, I see the IT Team struggling to keep up as once the TLs must have done – and so the cycle continues.

So where to now for TLs?  The way I see it is helping learners personally – not the ‘personalized learning’ that has been hijacked by program writers on the internet (more about this later!).  Helping learners personally means asking them good questions which help them to see the links across their subjects; sitting with learners on their side of the table, helping them make sense of what they are coming across.  That is my vision for the Teacher Librarian!

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