Some things I've noticed in the middle school world:
- teams are now departments and they're now united by the subject not the grade level.
- some people teach the same subject, different grade levels. YIKES! reminds me of the elementary ball juggling planning for all of the subjects.
- common assumption/misconception: the Librarian only works with the English Language Arts (ELA) peeps. I hope to not fall into that rut.
- ELA classes are in a block 90 minutes long, covering 2 periods at a time. This proved to be a bit confusing when scheduling the library.
- inevitably there will be one grade level lunch or a class period the library will be closed for 30 minutes due to having NO library assistant. (I know, I know, stop complaining about what's not going to change but even that short period of time being closed upsets me. So, I can't stop complaining about it!)
- I don't have 6 grade levels of TEKS to be familiar with. YAY!
- I have to quickly get familiar with 3 new grade level TEKS.
- I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the middle school level library collection. I feel like I need a year hiatus just so I can read everything!
We started off this week with a day of professional development on Quality Questioning. I had just gone through the same session last year but geared more for the elementary level. It was during this session that I realized how ill prepared I am in knowing the MS curriculum. Major "fail" on my part for not spending my summer reading up on the MS TEKS in ELA, Social Studies, and Science! Guess what my weekend reading will consist of?
I also sat in my first department meeting. It was more of a "get-to-know-you" kind of session but still very worth building some team unity. The ELA department is HUGE. I'm used to teams of 6, the biggest I've ever planned with, but this department has 12. Crazy! I'm interested to see how this team keeps it together when having to make some tough decisions.
After meeting with them I was able to FINALLY wrap my head around and complete the library schedule for the week of orientation and the rest of the year. Just finishing that task alone makes me feel very accomplished. How sad! LOL! I know having orientation all in one week may seem pretty hard core and yea, after seeing the schedule printed out I am a little freaked by it. But I'm going to try it this first year and if I feel like it was the worst mistake of my life I'll change it next year. Live and learn, baby! (orientation schedule shown first, then monthly schedule)
I experienced my first "meet-the-teacher" night at the middle school level and I had the opportunity to meet most of our students. I was assigned to pass out all of the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade schedules. Seeing the kids get excited about the teachers they got or seeing them freak at the electives they were able to be in did remind me of my MS scheduling experience. I hated not having an identical schedule to my BFF. So I could relate to those girls boohooing when they didn't get PE with their besties. BUT life ain't fair, sweetie, so keep it moving!
Listening to admin go over safety and teen behavior cautions was pretty interesting too. Watch out for nooks and crannies (not much different from elementary but for different reasons. Elementary kids will hide, MS'ers will make-out. YIKES!). Be visible in the hall during passing periods. Constantly remind them to walk-n-talk in hallways...keep it moving, kids! Lockers are both our friend and foe...don't share your code with friends and don't stuff other students in them either. WHAT?! They do that?! But even after hearing all of the "possible" behavior issues I'm still very excited to get those kids in the library! I know, crazy right, I want a bunch of teens in the library.
Which takes me to my next point. I did a short presentation to the entire staff about the library expectations, policies and procedures, and our library website. I explained to the staff I want the kids to know the library and refer to it as a learning commons, a creative zone, the hub of the school where they can go to create to be creative and get inspired it's not just the place to go find a book, check it out, and leave. Don't get me wrong, we still are the provider of books but now we're so much more than that. Just take some time to come experience the Bernal learning commons!
I'm so excited and proud of our library. I am beyond thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the opening process. It was some back-breaking work opening all of those boxes but it was all worth it after seeing it all come together. Check it out below - The opening of the Dr. Joe Bernal Middle School Library ~ A kingdom of readers!