This summer, I took my first AQ (additional qualification course) since 2010.
What’s been holding me back? Mostly the online format. Now, this might be surprising based on the fact that I am very comfortable with technology and generally like to try new things. However, for years I have been hearing from colleagues that you spend a great deal of time replying and keeping up with people’s posts online and that the learning is not as valuable.
If there is one thing that I know about myself it’s that I am a social learner – I love to talk to people in person about all things teaching. That even extends to how I exercise: I like playing sports that involve teamwork. I have my FSL Specialist and Special Education Part 1 – and I loved being in class, in person, for those courses. The relationships established in some of those courses endure.
Next year, I will be in a new role at my school. I will be a Teacher Librarian and I am so looking forward to it! So, on the recommendation of a friend, I was brave and signed up for the Part 1 Teacher Librarian AQ at OISE this Spring. I spent the month of July immersed in all things Library Learning Commons (LLC).
And I loved it.
My kids laughed at me as I made a calendar in our kitchen work area for my course with due dates, percentages and the 14 Modules spaced out throughout the month. I attended helpful office hours where I got the chance to interact with classmates and the Instructor once per week. I got helpful and detailed feedback on my assignments. It was so nice to be provided with so many interesting and thought-provoking things to read and view.
What’s more, I really liked that our Instructor, from the onset, she gave clear guidance and asked us only to post 3 responses to only certain assignments: quality over quantity was highlighted. The interactions were more thoughtful and meaningful this way, in my opinion.
I had to learn how to cite works again. But technology for creating bibliographies has come a long way in ten years! I used “bibliography.com” for this. I learned how to make an annotated bibliography.
Many of the reading responses felt like writing a blog in some ways. It felt familiar and good to get writing again.
I loved the assignments. The first was to document my learning in a helpful reading log. I used Google slides for this. Next, designing an inquiry lesson to support curriculum content that involved high-quality digital resources. I focused on Social Studies and websites that would help French Immersion students evaluate our Government responses to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Lastly, and my personal favourite – creating a book talk using media to “sell” a book to students. This is something I have done with my own students in the past and I made one for Eric Walter’s novel “The King of Jam Sandwiches”.
My course involved teachers with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives from China, Nova Scotia and all over Ontario. I really loved interacting with them all and enjoyed reading our different perspectives on different topics. However, I do have to admit, that I don’t imagine these brief online relationships will continue beyond this course.
I know I have a lot to learn this year in the role of the TL. But I am excited and looking forward to a fresh start and the challenge of something new. I am anxious to see the Covid Protocols that will apply to the Library Learning Commons this fall so that I can begin thinking about the space and put my learning into practice.
I am also putting on my Primary hat again as I will be providing Drama and Dance instruction in grades 1-4. As well, I will be working with small groups to provide targeted reading interventions through a program called “LLI” Leveled Literacy Intervention. In addition to managing the “stuff” in the LLC what I most look forward to is partnering and co-planning with teachers and students to support learning. I want to promote community and spirit in our school and hopefully beyond.
Sometimes when I tell people about my change in roles they look confused or act like it is a step-down. Trust me – I am going to miss being a homeroom teacher immensely! However, I also know from my course learning, that there is abundant research and data that shows the impact of Teacher Librarians on student learning.
But that is a blog for another day…