What We Learned from Ourselves

By Deborah Rinio, AASL Standards editorial board member

During the 2017 AASL National Conference, the AASL Standards editorial board and implementation task force offered two wrap-up sessions to help attendees process the information presented in the previous two days and enable them to ask questions. At the end of the wrap-up session, we asked attendees to write postcards to themselves. On those postcards, they shared areas where they would like to grow as a professional, where they would like their students to grow, and/or ways to build a stronger library community. AASL mailed these postcards to participants in January as a reminder of where they hoped to go, what they want to achieve, and how to get there. Many participants choose to publicly share their postcards. You can view recordings of the wrap-up session, as well as all the other standards-focused recorded sessions from the conference in Phoenix on eCOLLAB.

Below are some inspirational ideas from the postcards that were shared publicly. I hope these postcards inspire you to transform your library and your practice.

Some participants were thinking about collaborative opportunities with their staff and ways to get others involved:

  • “Focus on relationships!”
  • “As an instructional leader, I can dialogue with various stakeholders to share, discuss, & implement the standards for improved school libraries. Start w/other sch. librarians, then upper administration. Start the conversations!”
  • “I want to provide my area librarians with professional development on the new standards that is personal to them and helps them understand the standards are manageable and do-able.”
  • “Choose something each week to surface from standards in messaging to colleagues/stakeholders.”
  • “Be more passionate in my presentations to effectively demonstrate the transformative power of this work.”

Some had specific ideas for implementation in their library and practice:

  • “I can start by incorporating more digital citizenship into my tech lessons.”
  • “Learn to implement and foster inquiry among students!”
  • “Explore how to use Digital Badges to implement some of the learner standards.”
  • “I want to be more intentional in my inclusive practices. I can be sure to honor all student voices.”
  • “I want to identify and map how my current practice and lessons already align with these standards. I can start by focusing on a current unit to infuse the standards and enhance it.”

Still more were energized from the conference and all the learning opportunities it presented. They wanted to keep that fire alive:

  • “I’ve learned that there’s always a new skill and/or idea to learn by coming 2 AASL!”
  • “Be sure to remember the AMAZING energy of the conference and the EXCITEMENT of LEARNING!”
  • “I’m excited about embedding these standards into my institution: Curate! Include! Engage!”
  • “What I gain (or gained) from attending this conference is a renewed sense of importance. You reinforce, fortify, & provide structure to our existence – something that we can articulate to our stakeholders. GREAT EXPERIENCE!”

One participant had a reminder for themselves about keeping your head above water and how it’s important to take small steps; even doing a little can go a long way:

  • “Don’t get discouraged!… you are doing so much (unknown) good.”

What about you!? Whether you went to the conference or not, it doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the postcard exercise. The act of writing to yourself is a marvelous personal growth tool. It can help increase self-awareness by forcing the writer to think about where things are at now and where they want them to be in the future. When you open the letter, it can help remind you of your mindset at the time you wrote the letter and where you are now. Did you accomplish what you hoped to accomplish? Is there still a-ways to go? Did you go further than you could have imagined? You can also use this opportunity to inspire yourself; you know better than anyone what will motivate you.

Just write yourself a letter and seal it. Write the date you would like to open it on the front and then tuck it away until you’ll see it in the future. If you’re afraid you won’t be able to resist opening it, or you might have trouble finding it again in the future, use technology. Websites like Future Me enable you to write a letter to yourself and send it on a specified future date.

Or, even better, share your ideas by typing in the comments below. Happy learning and growing!

Categories: AASL National Conference, Blog Topics, Community, Professional Development


3 replies

  1. I LOVE this post because we are holding ourselves accountable – as the oft quoted saying goes “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

  2. Wow, great post! It makes me feel re-energized about the great learning that happened in Phoenix.

  3. Thanks for this, Deborah! As always, you have insights that are accurate and inspiring.

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