It's Good to Be Back
posted September 14, 2012 10:22 AM by Maya Bery
School is back in session, and though we're only in the second week of the semester, December seems frighteningly close. Maybe it's because I'm on a fairly strict deadline of when materials need to be due for my second teaching practicum experience, but there really is not that much time. But that's not the point of this post. This post is to revel in how nice it is to be back in a school environment, doing my librarian thing.
I have so far spent two days at my practicum site, and I'm already brimming with ideas and glowing with some successes from yesterday. An 11th grade science class had come in to do preliminary research for their science fair projects. The librarian I'm working with did a quick overview of Dewey, and then they were off to the stacks. Some students knew immediately what they were looking for, others grabbed books on science experiments and sat down to review their choices. But a few students looked puzzled, so I seized the chance to engage in some guiding reference questions and do some impromptu search skill strategies with students. With one student, that involved brainstorming some keywords for search and where he might go looking, with another, it involved talking through keywords relating to her interests in marine biology. But a third student was completely stuck. So I began by asking him which science class he liked the best, which one he was the least likely to fall asleep in. He thought a moment, then replied chemistry. One step forward. Next, I asked him what part of chemistry appealed to him, and he answered experiments. We had a search term! Off to the catalog we went, he found some resources, and then took off for the rest of the period. I was busy with other students, so I didn't check back with him again, but as he left, he caught my eye, smiled and said "thank you, that was EXACTLY what I was looking for" (the resource we'd identified was a binder book of chemistry experiments). Successful reference interactions are always a special kind of buzz. You feel accomplished, satisfied, and like your librarian skills are unassailable, like that "A" in Reference wasn't just the result of doing well on assignments. It's a particular joy when students get bitten by the bug as well, and delight in finding a resource that answers that exact question they've been looking for or didn't even know they were looking for.
It's good to be back.