This has been a great school year for school librarians in my school district and in our state. One of our Norman Public Schools (OK) school librarians, Teresa Lansford, was named the Norman Teacher of the Year and then went on to be named one of twelve finalists for the 2019 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. In September, I was honored to attend the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year ceremony where Teresa gave her speech as a finalist in a packed auditorium: “Libraries are a place of community. In my makerspace, students find a sense of belonging through the power that comes with giving them voice and choice. They gain ownership over their learning as they create and share new knowledge. Teachers collaborate with me and as we try new tools we become colearners with our students, authentically modeling a growth mindset and the grit we need to see in them as they grapple with concepts of their own.”
Let’s break this down a little. What does this excerpt from Teresa’s amazing speech have to do with all of us as school librarians, as educators who teach? And how does it relate to the role of school librarians as outlined in the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries? The connections are everywhere and resonate with me as exciting points of a practice that deeply reflect the AASL National School Library Standards.
Think about a world where our learning looks like this:
So what can we learn from Teresa’s strong role model as a school librarian who is an educator who teaches? As you consider your own practice, ask yourself:
- How do I align my practice with the standards to elevate each of the Shared Foundations in my school community to truly transform teaching and learning?
- How can my implementation of the AASL Standards profoundly affect my school learning community?
- What difference can I make in all learners in my school?
Start today by challenging yourself to transform your own teaching by implementing one of the Shared Foundations, or if you are already well on your way, consider a new idea:
- Maybe it is facilitating your 4th-grade learners to Curate their own resources.
- Perhaps it is presenting tools that teach 7th-grade learners to participate in active debate and dialogue with peers that Include varied perspectives.
- Maybe it is providing opportunities for 11th-grade learners to Collaborate with others from different schools, states, or countries.
- Perhaps it is giving 8th-grade learners the tools to generate their own questions about a topic of study by teaching them to Inquire.
- Maybe it is giving 2nd-grade learners time to demonstrate their learning through creation and making as they Explore using a growth mindset.
- Perhaps it is teaching 9th-grade learners to assess the validity, accuracy, and cultural context of the information they Engage with.
Celebrate the power of the teaching role that is part of your practice—it is the crux of a strong learner-ready school library!
Author: Kathryn Roots Lewis
AASL President 2018-2019