Friday, August 12, 2011


I facilitated a two and a half hour literacy workshop for our faculty yeterday morning. It was really unlike anything I've ever done at school in that I did not break a sweat. Granted, it wasn't terribly demanding of me -- I introduced two hours of Cris Tovani video and led discussion every half hour, in between tapes (yes, we use VCRs, go head and laugh). But I do usually get anxious when I have to present anything to the whole staff.

I often talk to larger groups, usually librarians or technology teachers, but for some reason speaking to my own faculty always worries me out of all proportion. Maybe it's all the men, the sometimes loutish coaches (I mean the one who left the Mountain Dew can with the tobacco spit out in it where I had to pick it up this morning. Yuck!). I'm starting my tenth school year here, so maybe I have the veteran status which quiets them. Maybe it's because I'm old enough to not play the smiling ingenue. Or maybe just because I'm on my game after a summer off. Or maybe it was the incredibly applicable strategies Tovani showcased. Whatever the reason, I felt like the group was actually quite easy to manage and even engage on the topic of improving adolescent literacy, our school-wide mission.

We've 76 certified staff members, down from 81 last year, and of course more students. Our really wonderful principal, who has been in that position almost three decades, announced he will be retiring December 1st. When school starts on Monday, the classes will be huge, and this will probably be a third year without instructional supply money, including library materials funding. But, on the whole, it seemed like everyone was in an incredibly positive mood, despite the S.O.S. Rally, despite the teacher-bashing in the media, and despite the sense of gloom and doom from outside. We have eight new teachers, and I'm particularly excited about our new social studies department chair, since I especially love to work with history classes.

Today, my terrific paraprofessional aide returns, and I'll hold a website training for new faculty. I have a few new books I begged and borrowed to get to our kids, and four computers in the back room. If I can figure out a way to get them on the network, it would bring us to 18, which is how many we would need to accomodate a class with 2 students per machine. Since getting the second librarian unit for the second semester last year, I've been in the building more and have both recovered and scavenged some things.

I am trying to relax and savor the possibility and promise of this fresh start. Who knows where I'll be this time next year...

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