When I first encountered the concept of the teacher librarian as leader I just could not envision how this could possibly look. Especially in my own situation as a fledgling TL in a school I was totally unfamiliar with. Everyone knew I was undertaking the retraining course so who on earth would take me seriously if I tried to fulfill any kind of leadership role.
I was also very wary as I had been burned in the past as a trainee reading recovery (RR) teacher. My enthusiastic response to my RR tutors encouragement to influence and educate teachers regarding children’s re entry to their classroom was an embarrassing failure. The fruit of that little exercise was a bunch of very disgruntled and offended colleagues.
I had a very traditional mindset regarding what it is to be a leader. I was confusing the term manager with leader and thought that one had to be in an appointed executive position within the school to be taken seriously in leading change. As I worked through ETL 504 however I began to see glimpses of how I might emerge from the middle as someone with the skills to contribute to or actually lead some of the change which I believe is so necessary to bring our school library into the 21st century (Tapscott,n.d; Kotter,n.d; Lubans, 2010; Townsend, 2011; Cameron & Green, 2004).
I saw that in fact I am already actively engaged in the process of leading change. I am incrementally introducing collaborative planning in a school where the TL has traditionally existed in isolation and been “told” what to do by the classroom teacher. I am also demonstrating ways of incorporating new technology into teaching with the emphasis on its use a tool or a means to an end rather than as an end it itself (Schifter, 2008).I have certainly given my problem solving and decision making skills a work out in juggling my myriad of responsibilities within my time, budgetary and personnel constraints (Adair 2010; Knapp, Copeland & Swinnerton, 2007). Working with a variety of teachers with differing philosophies, motivations and personality types has highlighted the importance of interpersonal skills (Winzenreid, 2010; Donham, 2005).
I see the importance of identifying my vision for the school library (Donham, 2005; Sergiovanni 1984, Kotter, n.d; Marzano et al 2005; Covey, 1992;). At present I don’t really have one. If I do it is very vague and taking second place to surviving a new role in a new school and coping with the requirements of the retraining course. My current focus needs to be on building relationships, expertise and credibility by exhibiting integrity and authenticity in all that I do and say (Donham, 2005).
I think in the future I will want to further develop the collaborative culture and share my developing expertise as information specialist and digital dynamo!
Adair, J. E. (2010). Decision making and problem solving strategies (pp. 45-53). London: Kogan Page.
Cameron, E., & Green, M. (2004). Making sense of change management a complete guide to the models, tools & techniques of organizational change. London: Kogan Page.
Covey,S. (1992) Principal Centred Leadership. New York: Fireside
Donham, J. (2005). Enhancing teaching and learning: a leadership guide for school library media specialists (2nded.) (pp. 295-305). New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers
Knapp, M. S., Copland, M. A., & Swinnerton, J. A. (2007). Understanding the Promise and Dynamics of Data-Informed Leadership.Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, 106(1)74-104.
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Kotter, J. (n.d.). Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved from http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/changesteps/changesteps
Lubans, J. (2010) Leading from the middle and other contrarian essays on library leadership. ABC-CLIO,LLC Santa-Barbara California. Retrieved from http://books.google.com.au/books?id=8CPI8MXQOBwC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ViewAPI&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). School leadership that works: from research to results. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Schifter, C. (2008). Infusing technology into the classroom: continuous practice improvement Hershey: Information Science Pub..
Sergiovanni, T. (1984). Leadership and Excellence in Schooling. Educational Leadership (February) 4-13.
Tapscott, D. (n.d.) Four Principles For The Open World. Retrieved from http://on.ted.com/Tapscott
Townsend, T. (2011). School leadership in the twenty-first century: different approaches to common problems?School Leadership and Management, 31(2), 93-103.
Winzenried, A. (2010). Towards an organisational theory for information professionals. In Visionary leaders for information (pp. 23-61). Wagga Wagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies.