As we strive towards a “deprivatised” profession, we are all becoming collaborative learners. In fact, one of the defining characteristics of a good teacher is that he/she is willing to learn continually and to share that knowledge with their colleagues and the learning community.
Recently, I presented an award to Elizabeth Bryant, a teacher/librarian whose passion and commitment to teaching enriches the learning environment and empowers her colleagues. It was wonderful to see the entire school community out in force to celebrate good learning and teaching. I asked Elizabeth to describe why she does what she does:
I believe my role as teacher librarian provides me with a powerful opportunity to encourage all students to embrace the transformative power of reading. Reading is fundamental to all that we do. I have always wanted each of my students to love reading, to be inspired by the power of story.
Working as a teacher librarian is a privileged and unique position, as I have the opportunity to work with all the students and with all teachers. The teacher librarian sees every child in the school each week. This is what makes the position so powerful. I believe I am able to make a positive difference to students’ self-esteem, confidence, and independence and to develop a sense of responsibility for their own learning.
I believe information literacy skills can improve students’ mastery of content and the information seeking process, through the integration of those skills into the school’s curriculum. The development of independent and life long learners is enabled when information skills are embedded across all year levels and teaching programs.
I believe a constructivist pedagogy encourages students to take control of their own learning, builds on what they know and allows them to engage with a range of text and electronic resources in independent, integrated resources-based and technology-based inquiry learning. In my experience these things are best achieved through collaborative relationships between classroom teachers and myself with planning instructional units, assessment procedures and resource collection to have a significant impact on students’ learning. We are all learners together.
Finally I enjoy doing what I do, I have fun with the students and the teachers exploring stories and learning about new technologies. I want every student in our school to be readers, be moved by stories, to love learning as much as I do, and to be life long learners with the potential to make a difference.
I get to hear so many stories of teachers who are pushing the edges in their teaching, engaging the kids where they are at, using today’s tools to stretch and challenge young people. Most importantly they use their professional expertise which they continually hone to create these opportunities. Liz deserves her peers recognition, she however thinks it just fun and great to do!