Thursday, October 26, 2006

Reflections of a Teaching Librarian

I have just finished completing all requirements for my graduate school courses - EDR 210 - Trends in Teacing Reading & EDR 211 - Reading in the Content Areas. Now some may wonder, why a school librarian studying Reading Education. My short essay provides reason enough. So I hope.

Reflecting the Links in Learning

The experience of teaching street kids and public school children is not something new to me. I have had opportunities in the past to facilitate learning structures with such a group. It was a long time ago that it seemed so strange and surreal to have done it again. I am surprised at myself to have survived and endured the whole thing.

To prepare for the demo teaching in Learning Links, I had to catch up with my group mates who were practitioners of the Four Pronged Approach. There were videos and group discussions of course, but in teaching, the real stuff matters more. The actual “doing and making” counts a lot compared to viewed and simulated environments. Much as I tried, I was a newbie. And so, I let my two group mates run the show and lent support as much as I can. For a graduate student who juggles work, motherhood, wifehood and all the extras on the side, my two group mates, Daisy Cunanan and Joyce Dumlao were a blessing. I learned as much from them as I did with the kids in Learning Links.

At this point in my scholarly life, learning from my peers is, to me, more important than actually acquiring skills to better my teaching craft. I have already reached a certain level of facilitating library skills. Though the room for improvement is always the biggest in the house, I did not strictly require myself to immerse in the Four Pronged Approach. This does not mean that my interest and motivation is little. It just so happens that my application of it is very different from the regular classroom teacher.

Sure, I have many uses of the Four Pronged Approach and the other theoretical trends taken up in class but from a different context. By being able to understand such theories, concepts and philosophies, I could speak with literacy teachers in the language that they are comfortable in. I am not merely a librarian who would recommend learning resources. I am a librarian who could help them teach better with the use of both theories and learning resources. Better yet, I could select and acquire resources that are relevant to the curriculum and to the instructional needs of teachers.

I am thankful that Joyce provided balance to the force. She is my contemporary in the classroom of life. On the other hand Daisy, is what I was ten years ago – assertive; strikes while the iron is hot. I still am assertive, but I have learned to choose which hot iron to strike. As for the kids in Learning Links, they may be scruffy and rough at the edges, but they are no different from my own or from the privilege boys I teach in Xavier Grade School. All children, no matter who they are or where they come from must be taught; be taken cared for; be looked after. Children deserve to be respected.

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