Sunday, December 8, 2013

Stay Amazing, Librarians!

A recent post in Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk Blog featured the following letter to students from an unidentified elementary principal that went home with student state test scores:
We are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you-- the way your teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do. They do not know that many of you speak two languages. They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or paint a picture. They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day. They do not know that you write poetry or songs, play or participate in sports, wonder about the future, or that sometimes you take care of your little brother or sister after school. They do not know that you have traveled to a really neat place or that you know how to tell a great story or that you really love spending time with special family members and friends. They do not know that you can be trustworthy, kind or thoughtful, and that you try, every day, to be your very best... the scores you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything. There are many ways of being smart."
It was something that really struck me as so true for what we are facing these days. Our students and our schools are so much more than the scores reveal. And add to that list, we Media Specialists. 

I know we've all received ratings which aren't what we expected or are lower than what we thought we performed at. Or our value added score combined with our written evaluation score resulted in a different rating than we hoped for. Whatever your situation, it's important to not let the words or labels affect your overall self esteem and sense of worth as a teacher and Media Specialist. I'm not saying that the recommendations or areas to focus on aren't legitimate, but don't let the process deflate you. When I have students that "want to stay all day" in the Media Center, I know I'm highly effective at something! When students want to come every day for the books we've studied in classes, I'm making a difference. When my principal comes pays me a visit first thing in the morning, just to "drink in this great atmosphere", I almost forget about my scores! No, make that I DO forget about them! 

So, to re-word a few items from that elementary principal's letter, your evaluators don't know all of the talents and skills that you possess that can't be graded or evaluated, yet add more value to your family and friends, along with your students and teachers, than any rating ever could. As a friend told me this week, when I was feeling less than stellar,  "Keep doing what you're doing. You know what's right for your kids and your staff. Stay amazing and inspiring, no matter who notices". 

Have a great week and Stay Grounded!

Sandy Penvose