Sunday, 25 October 2009

October half term

Before I worked in education I used to think school staff didn’t live in the real world; having a week off work every two months meant they were detached from reality. Oh, how different I feel now I’m one of those staff! After four years in a school I have deduced that the real reason behind the frequent holidays is the preservation of staff sanity. Being with teenagers for 37 hours a week can be tiring work – draining, stressful and loud. Every once in a while the equilibrium needs to be re-addressed and the balance re-issued; the slate has to be wiped clean so staff and pupils alike can tackle the days ahead refreshed and with enthusiasm, otherwise nothing of any benefit would ever be achieved.

We are just starting our October half term holiday and I am very glad of it. Last week was one of the more unpleasant weeks in a school with several ‘incidences’ to write up and report, merge squabbles appearing, performance management observations, and not to mention the whole Single Status argument coming to the fore (don’t get me started on that!). Amongst all this, two nice things happened…

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Library Routes Project

The Library Routes Project enables librarians to share details of their career paths, and I’ve enjoyed reading various submissions. It’s interesting and informative (and – at times – comforting!) to read about the experiences of other librarians. With this in mind, I thought I’d contribute and chart my own career to date.

I graduated with a history degree in 2000 at the age of 21. Before this time, I’d never given any thought to what I’d do as a career. All I was interested in was studying history and what I’d do after that time had never crossed my mind. Confronted with the concept of entering the big wide world, I flirted with retail graduate schemes. I’d worked in a supermarket since I was 17 and it was the only thing that came to mind. A few interviews later, no luck. After a few weeks of working in the supermarket full time, I found an office based job within the NHS. Number-crunching all day was mind-numbingly dull and I was far from a model employee; however hard I tried, I simply couldn’t make myself actually care about data inputting. I could do it in my sleep and it was unchallenging. On the plus side, it was local and offered flexi-time!

I decided to take stock of my life and started to seriously think about what I wanted to do. I felt guilty that after the financial cost of university I wasn’t making use of my degree. I put my thinking cap on and gave myself a grilling. What did I enjoy doing? What made me happiest about my current and previous employment? I’d enjoyed serving supermarket customers far more than sitting at a computer all day. It made me feel that I was helping people and making a difference (albeit it only to their shopping experience). The more I thought about it the more apparent it became – I wanted a role that allowed me to help people and make a positive contribution to the lives of others. Okay, now I’d got that sussed I just had to work out where I could actually achieve that. One day, out of the blue, it hit me like a thunderbolt… libraries! I had been a library user since my early teens, not just for my studies but also reading for pleasure. As soon as I’d thought of the idea it felt right, and I couldn’t believe it had never occurred to me before. I felt at ease in libraries and understood how to use them. I valued them and found them interesting. I could help people and use my brain at the same time. I researched the career and discovered you could study library science at university. Doing a Masters degree had always been a secret dream of mine, and here was the perfect subject to study. The next step – find a vacancy!

Monday, 19 October 2009

The Blog Begins...

Having looked at my pal Rose's wonderful blog about her boat (the Wildrose), I have decided to create a blog of my own. Not really sure what I'm doing yet but hopefully I'll get to grips with it soon.

I graduated from library school in 2007 and now work in a secondary school. Based in one of the most financially deprived (and 'educationally underachieving') boroughs in the country, the school faces many uphill challenges. In September 2010 we are due to merge with another local secondary school. When I first accepted the job I didn't realise how diverse the role would be, and I hope this blog will help people realise how crucial school libraries are - for many reasons.

As Rose said - "forget about behind the bikeshed, behind the bookshelves is far better!"

See you all soon...! Cara x