It’s been a mean couple of weeks. The kind of weeks where I’ve dreaded coming to work. The kind of weeks where it feels like the hits just keep coming. The kind of weeks where I’m wondering if this is the new normal and the new normal might not be sustainable for me.
I keep reminding myself there are a few things I can control, a few more things I can influence, and a whole mess of things I can’t do much about.
In an attempt at feeling somewhat more in control, I’ve jumped head first into a few independent projects. I started researching incentives for reading and was directed to Stephen Krashen by the one and only Melissa Depper. The original impetus was going to an outreach site and being asked “What do I get for reading this week?” every time I visited, but I’m quickly realizing this research has relevance to the ongoing SRP/SLP/SRC Revolution. Are we actually doing the exact opposite we intend to do when we incentivize reading? One of my favorite things to say I “do” in my job is motivate kids to read because reading is the best. If reading is the best, why do we give kids anything to do it? Shouldn’t we be spending our summers allowing kids to read whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want and providing a ton of readers’ advisory help? Instead of labor intensive programs, shouldn’t we be offering book talk sessions for all ages (oh, man. I just thought of this idea and our SRP programming is already SET for this summer!) so kids can be introduced to books of interest to them in a fun way? I mean, there’s RESEARCH here, people, actual research!
I also picked up “Tools of the Mind: the Vygotskian approach to early childhood education” by Elena Bodrova and Deborah Leong. After much consideration and much helpful advice from my fabulous twitter PLN, I’ve pretty much decided to forgo an MLIS in favor of an advanced early childhood education degree. I love school aged kids and I love working with them, but I have a passion for early childhood literacy and I am hopeful I will be able to continue working in a public library setting with a degree like this. I won’t be able to be a library director when I grow up, but quite honestly, my interest in management has waned.
Which brings me back to things I can control, things I can influence, and everything else.
I can control what knowledge I have. With that knowledge, I can influence and hopefully inspire people in my community, but the everything else part? I’m ready to to be done worrying and stressing and let it be everything else.
I have a history of melanoma and I just found out I have yet another spot that needs to be removed asap. Making it even more fun, it’s on my foot. MY FOOT! Which most likely means a longer recovery time. My already understaffed team is going to have to cover my storytimes, programs, outreach, and desk time for I-don’t-know-how-long-yet and I hate that it’s because of me. I don’t exactly have the best role models when it comes to taking the time one needs to recover and couple that with recent staff reductions, the guilt I feel over this could be crippling. But you know what? I am a valuable employee, but I am not essential. I’m not. What is essential is my health. I have watched employees literally work themselves to death by ignoring health issues and putting their job’s first. Miss Erin is going to put her health first and come back armed with many Mister Rogers’ episodes watched, many books read, and all ready to tackle SRP2015.