At this point in the subject think about strategies to take you from TL, the keeper and stamper of the books and the quiet space (library) (how many of our colleagues perceive TLs), to become something different. Make a set of notes using your new understandings to support your arguments and conclusions:
Many of the readings regarding leadership list vision as a key quality of leadership. In order to develop strategies for moving from the stereotypical keeper-of-the-books-and-quietness to “something different” that has a leadership hue, it is essential to formulate and articulate a clear vision (Gleeson, 2016) of what that “something else” will look like. For my situation, I know that I am not really looking to take on a formal leadership role – at least not anything that has the word “principal” in the title. My projected to pathway to professional development might include pursuit a Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher status, but not an Assistant or Deputy Principal position. Therefore, my vision of my “something else” lies in the distributed leadership, informal leadership or leadership by expertise vein. My vision for the library is as a place that will be the go-to place for resources across the curriculum and for information on teaching and learning. A central school service station rather than just a place for students to go and borrow some books or listen to a story and be kept busy for an hour while their teachers plan for their “real learning activities”.
Moir, Hattie and Jansen’s (2014) viewpoint that to develop leadership capacity you first need to know what qualities the members of the organisation value as evidencing effective leadership really resonated with me. Looking at the five top “effective leadership qualities” that they found in their study (Moir, Hattie, & Jansen, 2014, p 37), I find a framework for my vision and strategy for change: Continue reading “Leadership Vision and Strategies for Change”
In my introduction on the ETL504 discussion boards, my section on what I hoped to gain from the subject was the following:
“To be frank, I struggle somewhat with the notion of the TL as Leader, especially in the NSW DoE primary school context. If this subject can persuade me to a different view on this point, that would be an ideal gain. Pragmatically, I hope to gain another completed subject so that I can complete my course and confirm my position at FSPS as permanent. Somewhere in between those two, I hope to gain knowledge and understanding, as well as skills and strategies, to help support my position when advocating for things (such as admin time or particular resources) relevant to my role as Teacher Librarian.”(Simon, 2019, July 5, para. 4)
We have been encouraged to reflect on our thoughts and understandings of Teacher Librarians (TLs) as leaders before diving into the meat of this subject, so I will try to expand on the thoughts expressed above. My friend and fellow classmate, Liz Parnell, is incredibly sceptical about the notion of TLs as school leaders and gives an excellent description of one common experience – the overburdened, fighting-to-keep-afloat primary school Teacher Librarian (Parnell, 2019, July 1, para. 3). This captures some of the struggle I related regarding the notion of the TL as leader in a NSW Department of Education primary school context. I am currently working in that context as the sole, 3-day-per-week TL at a relatively small (215 student) primary school in Sydney. In my initial six months in that role, I see myself more in Liz’s description of a follower being pulled in multiple directions than in the descriptions of TLs as technological and curriculum leaders put forward in the advocacy videos by Students Need School Libraries (2018) and ALIANational (2014) found in the subject home page and first module.
However, as I began to reflect on these feelings and opinions, I began to realise that perhaps some of the fault I was finding had more to do with my concept of leadership in schools than with the role of the TL. Continue reading “Initial thoughts on Teacher Librarian leadership”