Reflecting on Freshman Orientation

               I just reread what I wrote last year  about my talk during freshman orientation, and I think it’s close enough to the script that I still use. So far, this year, I’ve already talked to more than a dozen classes and have been very impressed by what I’ve seen. Thank you to Ms. Malbon, Mr. Rossetti, Ms. Hart and Ms. Montibello for bringing your classes to the LMC.

               As in the past, I introduce myself and Ms. Sicard, discuss the library hours, the procedures for signing up for study, where to find fiction, biographies, reference books … blah, blah, blah. The rules and regulations are all straight forward, mostly coming from the student handbook on school conduct. As I mentioned in last year’s post, I have 6 points that I try to stress at the end of my talks, that are really about my “my educational philosophy and my personal approach to dealing with the everyday details” and they are:

  • I am a teacher first and foremost, and I am here to help every student that wants to learn.
  • Haverhill High is every students’ school, but it is my workplace, and I will not permit anyone to interfere with my job.
  • I view the LMC as the heart and soul of the academic life of our school, and no one is allowed to disrupt the important work that has to be done.
  • Nothing that I do in my office, is as important as anything I can do to help a student or teacher.
  • Everyone is responsible for their own behaviors, and there are consequences for disrupting others pursuing their education, and finally,
  • We are a community, and everything we do as individuals affects who we are as a whole.

               A few things stand out to me as I reflect on the points highlighted. They are a bit repetitive, stressing over and over that my role in the school is one of helper, aide, assistant. That’s okay with me, because I do believe that as the Library Media Specialist, I am at my best when I am helping others. (Read What Can the LMC do for You?) 

               The list it is also repetitive in discussing the fact that there is work to be done, and that I highly value the work of others. This too, continues to be true (it’s why no games are allowed on the LMC computers … not even solitaire or mine sweeper). I love playing games and being entertained, but during school hours I want to reinforce exploration and curiosity. I want students to look around the LMC and see their peers and teachers working, reading, studying, learning. This is, after all, what we are supposed to be doing in school.

              It also strikes me that I come off as a humorless bore when reading this list. Like someone who is a bit of a martinet when it comes to running the library. Anyone who has worked with me enough, will (hopefully) tell you that this is not the case. I try to make the LMC a welcoming place with many different areas for students and teachers to use. 

               But, I stress these things during Freshman orientation (and again here in print), because I also have another audience in mind. During my talks to the classes, we are in the pit, and there is usually a class or study students using the computers around the pit. They’ve heard my talk before as freshman, but may have forgotten a thing or two. Many of the students who have become regular users of the library don’t need to be told anymore what is expected because they “know”.

               Over time and with reinforcement, the students and teachers who populate the LMC learn to value that there is a place for them to come to study and learn and grow. They know that we’ll be there to help them print a paper, get a picture from the web or find an interesting book. They know that we’ll fix their margins for their spreadsheets, download an e-mail attachment or print handouts of a powerpoint presentation. They know that we’ll listen to their questions, and to their tales of electronic woe. And all of this serious work, is best done when done with a sense of humor and a smile.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have a great first week of October.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.


About htwilson

born in brooklyn, raised in queens, massachusetts, that's where I be.
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