Today I was lucky enough to get to take a professional day to go to Book Buzz at the Harold Washington Library. But, as I was riding the train to the city with all kinds of commuters; a thought occurred to me. . .I’m out in the world!
I went to this event to learn about the best in upcoming Children’s Lit, and I did that, but so much more. I found myself doing a lot of reflecting as an educator-librarian. It was a pleasant and contemplative experience to have a day that wasn’t a ‘day off'(which if you’re a parent is never really a day off), a day full of teacher professional development delivered in a school setting or attending a conference schlepping your coat and bag to sessions in a crowded convention center.
My visit to the Harold Washington Library allowed me to think about how a library is used by its members during the day. People were researching municipal literature, business materials, on computers, recreational reading and many other activities. My thought was ‘how can I mirror this in the school setting?’ or ‘how can I make my school library reflective of the ‘real’ world? How can my experience outside of the building be reflective in my teaching practice?
I am not going to recount the specific lessons I walked away with, but what if a teachers from other disciplines could take an enrichment day? The science teacher could visit a science lab or museum. Even if the topic was not specifically in their curriculum. . .what could they learn from this experience? What if our literacy teachers could visit a book publishing company? What career readiness could they gain for their students?
I found that a day of enrichment, away from my building was like pressing a reset button. It was an important reminder that we do not prepare children for the next grade, but to be life long learners outside of our walls.