Just a Liberian

I talk about the school library I work for far too much. I think this is mostly because I love my job and its challenges. My students' unreturned laptops haunt my dreams and their evaluations of my teaching darken my doorstep, though I have no doorstep to speak of in a 4th floor apartment. When asked what they would most like to change about their information literacy class, my 9th graders deemed the professor, me, to be the element that needed changing the most. "You need to just chill. You have to remember you're not a real teacher, you're just a liberian." For further clarification, I am not a citizen of Liberia. Nope, that was just a real punk of a student trying to set my teeth on edge. Just a librarian?! Not even a librarian, a LIBERIAN!

It is at this moment that I am choosing to see the up-side of the upcoming summer vacation. My students' resentment of bibliographic instruction and citation styles is reaching maximum capacity. I am losing my patience. Teachers get a lot of flak from the rest of the working population for having many vacations, but the more I see the daily war waged between teachers and students in my school I'm not sure if the person who designed the school calendar wasn't some sort of ambassador for peace. Education should not be warfare. I'm seeing the best of teachers, colleagues who I consider mentors, lose it in the past few weeks. We're all so disappointed. Students are disappointed they can't watch movies in every class or have class outside. Teachers are disappointed their students still have no idea what a print source is. That's right. "Ms. Davidov, what's a print source? Is it an e-book? These are really ridiculous questions you can't possibly expect us to know the answers to." I try to think back to September, and I remember an optimistic, bright-eyed library student honored by the idea of teaching a group of young women how to navigate the increasingly complex world of information. Where is that person? I need to get her back!

Summer vacation is not an armistice; it is the beginning of finding our passions once again. I will be taking time this summer to further my studies in information literacy. I will remember why I love teaching people how to be better researchers. I will hone my teaching techniques to become a better teacher. If my students are right, it's time they got what they asked for, a new teacher. Liberian, I will never be. But teacher AND librarian, I can definitely become.

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