Today was my first real day as the Library Media Specialist at an elementary school. Two weeks ago, I started a bit early because the librarian I was to be covering for went into labor early. Then we went on break and today was my first day. Today was also the first time I ever sent students to the office. When I finally called the office after losing control of three kids, I felt ashamed.
During my previous long term subbing experience, it was made very clear to me that I wasn’t a librarian. I was ok with that. I never studied to be a librarian and despite what I assumed about the position, I was always eager to learn, adapt and do my best. Working with high school students was so much fun, and with my history teaching training, the transition wasn’t very difficult. Sure I wasn’t a librarian, but I knew how to teach research and I loved books. Here, with elementary students, it’s a bit harder. Not only do I still know that I’m not a librarian, but I also know that my training is not explicitly dealing with elementary age kids. I’ve taken classes, I’ve read some theory, but when it comes down to it, I sometimes feel like I’m floundering. I deeply understand how important these early developmental years are for these students. I know that without guidance, a lifelong passion of learning can be snuffed out very quickly. With all this in my head, I definitely think I’m going through a little bit of imposter syndrome. I’m usually quite confident in most things that I do, and yet calling the office made me feel really sad and ashamed that I couldn’t keep them in line. I felt like I failed my kids because not only could I not reign them in, but because their disruptive behavior began to affect the other students too. As I wracked my brain for strategies and tools, my mind went blank.
I write this not to garner sympathy or empathy, I write this because it’s the reality of being a brand new teacher. I left today feeling a bit dejected, but I know tomorrow will be a brand new day where I get to learn and continue to build relationships with these students. These kids still have a desire to learn and I need to help cultivate that earnest joy that keeps them coming. Because to be completely real, there’s a good deal of students in the high school who have lost the joy of being there and that makes me even more sad.
Everyday I learn something new. Today, I learned about Cynthia Moss, an advocate for elephants who’s work reminds me of I another scientist that I once met before. I also read about the Galapagos Giantess George’s, a special breed of tortoises that evolved due to environmental speciation. Two weeks ago, I was trying to teach myself Scratch (a logic based programming tool for elementary kids), instead deciding to let the students lead me. These are just some of the things that keep me going back, and the other things are the people. Keep me in your thoughts, keep praying and keep encouraging me, because if this was day 1, who knows what day 10, and day 15, and day 50 will be.