Roadmap for New Beginnings

This post is an edited, enhanced, and otherwise reworked version of an internal class blog post from a class called Motivating 21st Century Learners at Syracuse University. I am posting a series of these because the topics are close to my heart, they illustrate part of my library school journey, and I believe will get you thinking as they did me. If you are a fellow lover of information, community, and life-long learning–or if you are just wondering what we do in library school–welcome!

I want to be librarian. More precisely, I want to be a library teacher. I love books, but I love people more. I love teaching, and I love the idea that I can give someone the skills they need to find the information they require to create whatever-it-is they want to create. What profession could be better?

As part of our initial exercises for our “Motivating Learners” class, we were asked to share a first-person account of our imagined first day as a new school librarian.


I stand outside the library doors, smiling and saying good morning to wide-eyed fifth graders who mutter their locker combinations or home room numbers so they won’t forget them. I empathize. I am excited and nervous about my first day in a new school too.

Like the incoming fifth graders, I carry my schedule in my pocket and am nervously optimistic about the day ahead. I know what is expected of me but I also know there will be new things for me to pick up as I go. I study the district curriculum maps the way the students study the maps that will help them get to class. From my maps, I know the content and expectations for my role as librarian. I have learned about the curriculum of our subject area middle school teachers as well. I know that continuing to gain understanding of each of our maps will help me to collaborate with them, and to provide complimentary and meaningful content in my instruction.

The students are excited to change rooms and teachers for each of their subjects, and I am excited to collaborate with different teachers to create lessons that are interesting, relevant, and that make the most of my instructional time. In order to for my instruction to be effective, I will need to grab student interest to help them to gain understanding, learn new skills, and develop new avenues of inquiry to pursue. Encouraging and facilitating their involvement is the key to my success in instruction and to their success in learning. I can’t wait to give them the opportunity to connect their own experiences to what they are learning, to practice, to collaborate, to share, to gather, to organize, and to teach what they have learned to their peers. What a wonderful year we all have ahead!

Original Post: Saturday, January 19, 2013