I have completed the very first semester of my career as a Teacher-Librarian and I wanted to document some of my feelings.
I moved to the library in order to have the opportunity to impact more than a homeroom of students each year. I believe with my whole being that if we love to read, if we see its purpose, if we make it part of our daily life, most of our academic struggles will decrease exponentially. The idea of being part of the goals I just mentioned was what strengthened my resolve to make the switch, not only would I have the opportunity to influence all of the students at my school, I would see many of them throughout their whole Elementary School careers.
So, what “blues” am I referring to? The homeroom-family blues. When I was a homeroom teacher the relationships I developed with my 20-27 kids was deeper. I learned about them as learners, as individuals, we grew together, we shared our family history with each other, we became partners, family, community. I also developed a relationship with their family, visiting all of their homes at least once (one year up to three times!), and seeing them in their day to day environment offered me a wealth of information to help students achieve and the opportunity to offer suggestions to make learning at home more productive. I miss that, I miss it a lot. When I refer to my students as “my”, ask anyone who knows me, just how fierce I am in protecting and helping my children grow holistically. I miss this so much that sometimes my heart physically aches.
It’s the little things I also miss dearly. On our Holiday Classroom Parties day; I had no class to prepare activities for, to wrap gifts for, to welcome parents to, to take pictures with. Our Holiday Christmas Sing Along was a blast, teachers were so proud of their classes caroling in front of the whole school after weeks of practice. I didn’t get to experience the little nervouseness of watching them get up on the stage and hoping they didn’t forget the words to their song, hoping that my goofy kids would not use 100% of their goofiness skills while performing. Yes, I high fived as many as possible as they exited the stage, yes I cheered, sang along, clapped, and loved every performance, but their was a little piece of my heart that was unfifilled, the piece that my homeroom kids used to fill. I am not going to lie, I spilled a few tears when no one was looking.
To feel a little less blue I visited my favorite kinder class, and took pictures with them and told each one, when they asked, that their Rudolph nose was still painted on, I listened to their explanation of what Santy, their Elf on the Shelf, had done and took pictures with them. I was also lucky to mand my morning duty post during the Holiday Classroom Parties time, which allowed me to wish a Merry Christmas to the families of many of our students and to squeeze in a hug here and there as they left early to start their holiday break.
My friend, my shoulder to cry on, Esme, endured my melancholy, offered suggestions that made lots of sense, reminded me of the bigger picture, and was actually the one to suggest I go to Ms. McClendon’s Kinder class to have some “family time” with her students. I love her dearly because after all that, she was still comforting when I told her that her suggestions were great but I had no “babies” to call my own, and my heart hurt. Will I ever get over this need to have my own close-knit “student family” ? I hope not, as an educator it’s part of what makes me passionate. Will I find some sort of solution to fill this need? I am confident I will, I just have to give it some time and more thought. I love being a teacher librarian, but the teacher part will always long for a class of my own.