Saturday, September 14, 2013

Serendipitous Advocacy

As part of adjusting to new environment, one needs to create opportunities to form relationships with others to establish trust and give a glimpse of what is possible. I learned this week that even the most innocent decisions can lead to bigger things. 

Last week we had our back to school evening for parents which takes the form of mini workshops on a variety of programs that are offered through the school such as work experience,  community and service component and many other aspects of the schools life which affects different students at different times. Many parents attended the evening along with all secondary staff. 

One of the introductory sessions presented was a taster for one of the workshops being held by The English Department on how parents can ensure middle years students keep reading. The school library was mentioned as being an important element of the the programme through exposing students to a wide variety of literature and running literature circles in collusion with the English Department.

I felt I needed to attend this workshop myself to offer support to the presenter and to see what was being recommended to the parents to see if the library can support the English Department further in this endeavour. I walked into the room and mentioned to the English teacher presenting that I was there to support him and if he needed me for anything I am there to help.

The workshop got under way and the topic of literature circles and the library came up, he then asked if I would like to speak about the programme and the library. I spoke for 5-10 minutes on how the library supports literacy through Goodreads, Literature Circles, e books, working with the public libraries and working with the teachers on ensuring we have the most current books for the students to read.  I was able to answer a number of questions about the library programme which the presenter may not have been able to do as easily.

When everyone had gone home exhausted from a very long day, I received a lovely thank you email from the workshop leader I had unexpectantly co presented with. In the email he stated he was looking forward to working with me further through the year. Then, later in the week the School Principal mentioned to me that this same teacher sang my praises to him about how I had assisted in the workshop without it being planned. Wow.

Advocacy lesson 101 - be prepared to do things on the spur of the moment and be supportive of your colleagues where possible, especially where it has even the slightest overlap to what you do. It opens doors widely.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nicely done Dianne. It was extremely important to be there and show what you can do for them. Of course, your huge experience and advocacy skills were important. I also greatly support the rule of speaking not more than 5-10 minutes. It was my golden rule while visiting departments working in the secondary school library.
Congrats and good wishes in your future work!