The Story of Your Year

Courtesy of Nina Matthews

For years I’ve planned to do this…really, I have. But (here comes the excuses) it seems that in every June the end of the year catches up and before you know it you’re in summer mode. It happens all too fast. Every year.

But, not this year…

I recently read a very brief and inspiring blog post by Oakland teacher, Elena Aguilar, where she observes that any transformation and change in our professional lives (and system-wide, too) will only come about through personal reflection (and probably more than one a year, too). Yes, some of us do ‘reflect’. But on what really? Many of us get into the trap of reflection about specific assignments that were left either unfinished or unmarked or we count how many students didn’t attend the last field trip and wonder why.

But shouldn’t our reflection really be about reflection on the larger responsibility we have in our schools: to make a difference.

For me, what was really innovative in her analysis was the recognition that she needed to tell her story of the year. It was her need to tell the story of her transformation. Essential that’s what a reflection really is, isn’t it? A

In Practice

And while I hurry to work complete next year’s library budget, collect and curate all the textbooks, and organize a school-wide annual reading competition starting in October, organize a provincial school library advocacy project, I’m still taking the time out to tell my story of the year. I think it will be ‘a year in the life of a teacher-librarian’; lots of action, twists in the plot, and ample editorial sidebars.

The long version is partial complete but in a nutshell here’s my story of the year…

I have completed my sixth year as teacher-librarian with School District 8. I have grown both professionally and personally. I have challenged both my students and my colleagues to take risks, seek first to understand, to be uncomfortable, to model and embrace lifelong learning. Expecting that out of each of us and of our students. 

I believe that a story is more powerful when you share it. With whom you share also matters. I truly believe that a colleague has the leverage of being able to sympathize, support, and celebrate what it means to be an educator. 

I know that I have learned much this year; my eagerness to take to the next level is proof-positive.

Did I make a difference?

I suppose, time will tell. But at least I’m taking steps to make sure I can continue to make the choice.

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