A Day in the Life of a Teacher Librarian #5
Meet Jennifer Cain. She's the Head of Learning Commons and Personal Project Co-ordinator Mater Christi College, Belgrave, Victoria. We asked her a few questions about her role and how she spends her days.
What do you love best about your job?
Working with students to improve their research skills and inspire a love of reading for pleasure
What age students do you work with?
12-18 years old
What three words that best describe you?
Passionate, committed and caring
What would you do if you had more time?
Read, walk and visit galleries
What do you spend most of your time doing?
What tasks are the next biggest spenders of your time?
Creating resources for student learning
What do you fill in the rest of the time with?
Teaching students research, thinking, and communication skills. Coaching teachers and helping students to navigate and succeed in the MYP Personal Project
What are some things that you only do occasionally?
What is the coolest project you have worked on or the coolest thing about your work/day?
Implementing a Knowledge Week to promote our library and improve student learning through events and activities that are fun and engaging.
What’s the best thing that has happened to you in your role?
The appreciation cards from students exiting the college at the end of Year 12 thanking me for making a difference to their learning
What made you want to be a teacher-librarian?
The chance to work one-on-one with students and to introduce students to the wonderful world of reading.
What is one thing you would really like someone to know about your job?
How rewarding it is to collaborate and co-teach with subject teachers and be part of a team with the goal to improve student learning.
I open the Learning Commons at 7.30am, five days a week and welcome the early arrivals as they settle in to quietly complete their homework, read or stream video content on their devices.
At 8.30am the space is pretty much full with most of the buses having arrived and the place is buzzing with loans of iPads, Apple Pencils and books to students. Returns are coming through the chutes and are being placed on the trolley for shelving when there is a quiet moment.
At 9.00am I am teaching Year 7 students all about plagiarism, academic honesty, how to create citations, bibliographies and how to create an account and use MyBib. I have them take a pre and post test to measure the impact of the lesson.
At 9.50am I am chairing the Learning Commons team meeting where we are discussing a recent professional learning opportunity I attended provided by ALIA Schools about preparing the school library annual report. The team discusses what type of data we should collect over the year in preparation. We also discuss and finalise the events and activities planned for Knowledge Week to be held in May.
At 10.50am recess is in full swing and the chess set is out, Uno cards and students are borrowing more fiction books and are pleased to know they have them over the holiday period.
At 11.20 I grab a cuppa and check emails and plan which classes can take advantage of a guest artist engaged for Knowledge Week and send the teachers an invitation to attend. I begin preparing a presentation for two assemblies to promote Knowledge Week to the college community.
At 12.00 a Year 7 class comes into the Learning Commons for a Humanities research task. I help students to research their topics and circulate, trying to get to every student.
At 1.00pm I have a quick lunch in the staff lounge and race back to the Learning Commons to help out supervising the lunchtime crowd with my colleagues. I help junior students with printing problems, and speak with Year 10 students about the ideas for Personal Project.
At 2.00pm a Year 7 Science class comes to the Learning Commons to complete their research task on Famous Scientists and I help 28 students by checking every one of their bibliographies using MyBib.
At 3.30 I attend a Professional Learning session about recognising anxiety in students.
At 4.30 I return to the Learning Commons to attend to emails, tidy the desk, shut down computers, turn off screens, tidy the space, farewell the students and turn the lights off at 5.00pm. The returns are still on the trolley to be shelved. Maybe tomorrow...
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