#87 Professional Contacts

Professional Contacts

It’s easy in the school environment to get insular, and forget that you’re part of a much larger picture, and profession. Your local network may be able to help you with resources and advice, but it’s also a good idea to keep looking out at the big world and see what’s going on.

This can be done via CPD events, setting up RSS feeds on sites you find interesting, reading widely, mailing lists and newsgroups, writing for journals, or social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace.

You could also try professional social networking spaces like LinkedIn.

Keep in touch.

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#67 Working Into A School

Working Into A School

This is something that can either be very difficult, or very easy depending on your outlook. Some librarians tend to concentrate on their ‘domain’ or space and keep concentrating on that, regardless of external forces. Personally, I think that’s a mistake.

My experience in schools led me to believe that the following activities can make your professional life much more manageable and rewarding, if common sense is applied:

  • get to know the school jannies and don’t boss them about or fall out with them
  • ditto with administrative staff. They’re the people who really get things done in schools
  • have a wander about the corridors and classrooms from time to time (but avoid hauling Johnny up for dropping his chewing gum: counter-productive!)
  • get involved in sporting activities (if you’re not sporty take pictures or video the event)
  • enthuse about your own hobbies whether that’s IT, books, chess, sport or knitting
  • try and get 1 or 2 teachers on your side (not all of them, just some)
  • try and get on to teaching staff CPD events if you can. After they stop gawping, it can be quite productive.
  • try and learn more about the curriculum than the teachers: seriously useful
  • talk to the pupils. No, I mean TALK to the pupils, find out what they really think, and let them feel they can confide in you
  • visit the staffroom. This can be hell, but you will get to know a few people you wouldn’t otherwise meet
  • create a coffee spot (decent coffee) with biscuits, so staff might come and visit you
  • retain your sense of humour; it will avoid the burning up of mega stress points

Try a few of these, and you might avoid this.