How Being Observed Went Yesterday

The usual nervousness happened: I changed my outfit twice and ran out the door without my lunch. When I got to school, I asked Dr. Red if she'd gotten the e-mail I'd forwarded her about Prof. D coming at 8:30. Dr. Red said no. O.K., not to panic, she said--probably because she saw I looked a little panicked--we've got a class coming for the first block (which starts before 8:30) and they're going to need help.

So when the class came in, I told the teacher about the imminent observation, and he was totally accommodating--he had been starting to hammer his students about getting their acts together on research for their projects. I threw myself into it and figured whenever Prof. D came she'd see me in action. She definitely did. I had a student who admittedly has chosen a very obscure topic to research and based on some hints from his teachers I take it he falls into the special needs category somewhat. But I liked his enthusiasm for his choice, and appreciated his openness to my suggestions and instructions.

After that class, I talked with Prof. D and answered some questions (hopefully in an adequate manner). She talked with Dr. Red for a bit, although I suspect it wasn't about my field experience the entire time--Dr. Red is a little bit of a "rock star" among librarians. When Prof. D took her leave, she gave me two comments: (1) Dr. Red says I'm doing great, and (2) Dr. Red would like me to be "braver."

Braver. I guess I could get all resentful about that, because I'm doing the best that I can, and this is my first experience in a library, in a school, ever. If they had any idea how far I've come, and how completely different this is from the job I've been doing for the past six years, they'd understand why I'm so freaking terrified ninety percent of the time. I've got faculty and students asking me to give them things that I know don't come anywhere near what Dr. Red would have in mind. Do they have any idea how much that sucks? Do they have any idea how much it kills me to encounter a new deficiency, every day--yet another thing I don't know how to do or have any idea about, something two years in the program failed to mention--but have to limp along? To sit in on a lesson planning meeting and feel most of it fly over my head, and not be sure if I will ever be able to do lesson planning and--as much as I hate to admit it--wonder if I will ever like doing lesson planning?

The answer is "no." Which means really I shouldn't bother getting resentful about it. Pick your battles and all.

The up side is that I kind of felt more as if I fit into the role than I had before, during the time I'd thrown myself into helping the class and tried just to be in that teacher-librarian moment. I actually enjoyed it and felt as if I knew how to do something helpful and instructional. That carried over a bit today as I worked with other students in a different class (but working on the same research projects), so that was good. Maybe things are starting to "stick" as I round out week three, and it's just taking time to feel comfortable. And brave.

The outcome? I think I passed. I am relieved but exhausted!


Dave E. said…
Good for you. Just from an outside perspective, don't be too irked about the "be braver" stuff. If you are encountering things that your studies program hasn't prepared you for, well, maybe they know that. It wouldn't be the first time that a curriculum was behind the times and yet good people were struggling to change it. Especially with all the technology changes that are impacting information access, which is what libraries are all about. It might make for a good topic over a cup of coffee with one or both if you get the chance, but only you can judge if that would be "braver" or foolish.
Kate P said…
Oh, no--I take full responsibility for being scared. I don't have much of a poker face, so when I'm being asked to do something I have no idea about--"Hey, how about leading the lesson planning meeting?"--I'm doing all I can not to freak out. I've never taught before and right now it's like, "Oh, no, don't put me in front of a class right now and walk away! What am I doing?" I'm dreading it.
Dave E. said…
I understand about being put in front of people, been there. I have to wonder though, at having to do things that the program you went through didn't mention. I'd be scared too, and maybe a little irked. Perhaps it's not wise to bring it up directly to Prof. D., but what did you spend all that time and money for if not to be prepared for what you are doing? Just saying.
Kate P said…
I see what you're saying. I suspect the deficiencies in the program come from a lot of assumptions being made with regard to what skills/knowledge/experience the students already have, not to mention the lack of a genuine program coordinator for the past few years. It's getting better little by little, but I'll be long gone by the time things get settled.

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