Thursday, March 11, 2010

Middle School Internship: Day 4

(32 hours down, 8 to go)

Still no phone, and I am missing my folder where I kept all my internship papers (and had a work-in-progress copy of my school's prep schedule). They're nowhere, and I saw them last the day my phone got stolen. I can't imagine anyone stole those, though. Luckily I can reprint what I had as far as internship documents.

I sure do hate to redo that prep schedule, though.

On with today. The media center aide called in with a flat tire on her car, so we were out an aide today. Since I was there, I covered half my time at the circulation desk, the other half stripping down the book fair in preparation for the Scholastic people to pick up tomorrow.

I really enjoy the circulation desk. I've always liked data entry type jobs and there is something relaxing about how systematic book check out is, or should be. Of course, the human element gets in the way of the system, and with middle school kids, the human element hasn't had time to be diluted and mellow. Fortunately, there was very little drama, only a lot of "ohh, my book is overdue? I think it is in my locker. . . no maybe my classroom. . . hmm." Ms. S. has a pretty firm rule of only having 3 books checked out at any time, and none if there are overdue books on a student's record. Most kids won't argue with the rules, especially with a stranger.

Her library checkout system is run by Sagebrush, which is not the same system my district uses. I had time today to get into the corners of Sagebrush, so I feel that I could handle the system if needed. It is a much simpler system than I am used to, and easy to pick up. A student will simply give their ID (or type it in, I turned the keyboard around so that they could do that) where their record is accessed.  I had a couple of kids want to put a book on hold, which was simple to do, however I was a little annoyed with the system when students wanted to check out a book and also renew a book as multiple transactions required multiple entries of the ID. Of course, every system has its drawbacks.

I also got a chance to talk more today with a teacher who is currently teaching english, but also has her Master's degree in library media education. She was asking questions about my job and was dismayed to hear that I teach full prep at my school, do a lot of tech support, and run the media center. It was interesting how undesirable that seemed to her, and she was reluctant to look for a media specialist position if it meant doing so much. I told her that in my experience it seems that most school districts have a media specialist and a tech teacher. One handles the library and all its job entailments, and the other teaches the tech preps to students.  At one point she asked something about whether I still liked the job, and I was surprised to realize that in listing off all my job responsibilities I had given her the impression that I didn't like it. I was quick to assure her that I really do love my job, I'm just very busy.

In comparison, actually, my days at the middle school are slower, even though there is a lot to do, I am just not as busy. It is definitely different to be a media specialist who is in charge of no preps. There is still a lot of student interaction, it is just different interaction than I am used to. Less structured, which is okay.

I also had the chance to help a few students find books.  I have seen Ms. S do this throughout the week, and so it was fun to have the chance to try it myself. I can't remember the exact dialogue but it was something like:

Student: Can you help me find a book?
Me: What kind of book are you looking for?
Student: umm
Me: Do you want a story or something real? (This is one of the prompts Ms. S uses)
Student: A story
Me: Okay (begins steering student to fiction section) can you tell me some books you have liked?
Student: Well, I really liked this one about a girl who has a crush on this boy and it was written different
Me: (steering student toward the romance display) here are some more like that if you're interested.
Student: (picking up What My Mother Doesn't Know) yeah, this is the one I read last time.
Me: (opening it up) Oh, it's written more in a poetry form, do you want to see if there are more by this author like that?
Student: okay (with a positive shrug)
Me: That would be in the S's(steering over to that section, finding more by that author)
Student: (finds one she wants) okay, thanks!

I hardly ever have the chance to help students in my library like this, mainly because when they're checking out their books I'm busy managing the rest of the class that is working in the computer lab.  I am kind of sad now that I miss this kind of interaction with my students, it was fun, sort of like a puzzle to find exactly what she wanted.

Also, the middle school library seems vastly bigger than my library. It is clear that being very aware of all the books in the library is an important part of the job of a good media specialist. I am sure Ms. S. doesn't read all of them. I'll have to ask that question tomorrow.

And hopefully find my folder.

edit later: I reprinted my internship requirements and realized that I am missing a major component of my requirement, specifically the collaboration with another teacher. I am going to talk to Ms. S tomorrow and hopefully connect with the English teacher I was working with earlier this week and maybe come in on Monday to do a lesson with her class.  All the drama this week with my phone has seriously turned my brain to mush.

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