Whether your library is virtual, in-person, or somewhere in between, there’s no doubt that these last two school years have been simply overwhelming. Connecting personally with our students in order to deliver them their next great read or resource has never felt more challenging. Instead of getting bogged down in the “what coulda shouldas,” reframe your thinking around the idea of “small wins.”
What Are “Small Wins?”
In the best-selling book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown defines one aspect of a successful “essentialist” as someone who “checks in with people in a gentle way to see how he or she can remove obstacles and enable small wins” (2014, 242).
The idea of a “small win” is appealing. First, it doesn’t involve layers and layers of action. Second, it encourages connectivity, something we all need. Finally, it promotes your role of librarian as essential in a time when obstacle removing is a full-time endeavor. Let’s think about what small wins may look and feel like in your school.
Collecting Small Wins
Note: Do NOT try all of these at once, no matter how good it sounds. Small wins work better when collected over time!
Celebrating Small Wins
If you can remember to record these small wins, you won’t regret it. Not only will you realize the connections you’re making, it provides an excellent document to share during an evaluation since they can easily fall under our AASL Standards. Most importantly, celebrate the small wins. Reflecting on your role in your school community and the potential you have to impact your students is easy to dismiss, but should be at the top of your list. You are contributing to a positive culture, therefore increasing awareness of your importance. Here’s a sample:
McKeown, Greg. 2014. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. London: Virgin Books.
Author: Renee Bowman
Renee Bowman is the co-creator of the blog for parents and caregivers Raising Real Readers. She’s twice been a teacher of the year for her district and was awarded the 2019 Samuel F. Hulbert Educator of the Year at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She will complete her school librarian certification from IUPUI in May. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram at @RaisingRealReaders or on Twitter @RaisingReal.