April 24, 2010


My wife's elementary school does something brilliant. Yesterday was the final day of their state-given standardized testing and they had a huge "Family Fun Night" to blow off some steam in the evening. DJs, face painting, inflatable playground thingees, and pizza. They even had a "Power Shower" where the kids could pay to throw balls at a target and get a chance to hose down staff members (including the principal) with freezing cold water. My daughter had the biggest smile on her face I've seen since Disney.

I got the chance, however briefly, to meet and chat with a couple of my fellow bloggers. They are brilliant and interesting and I only wish we'd had more time (and that I could hear better in an environment like that). While chatting with one of them, we were discussing the possible perks of my new job. "There will be less paperwork!"

I wondered aloud if that was true and was accused by my lovely bride of being a nattering nabob of negativism. Since she's always right, it has gotten me thinking. Is there really less paperwork? Or at least less of the onerous kind?

In my current job I have some grading but a whole lot of persnickety data entry and checking. I have to work on "modification plans" with teachers on all these students and create and maintaing "testing accommodation plans" and have everything signed and double checked and signed again and checked again and again. I also have to "code tests" which means canceling classes and spending an afternoon in the prison-like testing room bubbling in just the right mix of information on pain of losing my job if not correct.

So I'm thinking that once again, my lovely bride is right. I imagine being the librarian will have a lot of paperwork related to the ordering, but I've done that as a special orders person at a chain bookstore and I've even been the bookkeeper at such a bookstore. So that part doesn't seem too bad.

I'll be teaching two classes a day so will still have lesson planning but if I understand the schedule correctly, it'll basically be two lessons a week replayed five times, so that's not too bad. I don't know how much grading will be involved.

What other paperwork is involved in being a school librarian?


Jan von Harz said...

I know as a communication arts teacher I have lots, and lots of paper work, but I also work very closely with our school librarian and she has lots of paper work but just of a different kinds. Plus she also does lesson plans because she is always teaching classes with other teachers and she has a book fair twice a year. So who has more? Well suffice it to say that we all have more than our share.

C.B. James said...

You'll find out soon enough, I guess. It would be nice not to have to grade anything anymore. I don't mind reading students work or watching their presentations, but having to grade it all and give my feedback has become a dreaded chore.

If all I had to do was write lesson plans and then teach them, I'd be in hog heaven.

Michael Taylor said...

So does this mean that we are no longer "invisible" friends?

Jim (Teacherninja) said...


Yes, more than our share indeed!


Well, as an ESOL teacher I can't complain. I make plans and teach them and while I keep track of growth and progress, I don't really do grades per se.

I don't know. That's up to Anna. She's the one who calls all my blogging people my "invisible friends."

Thanks all,

Japhy said...

Most importantly is the lesson planning, which indeed will be repeated to infinity each week. You may begin to drift off on the 12th reading of whatever book(s) you've selected for kindergarten/1st grade. Kidding:) Each time I do a project with students (research-based, for example) there is paperwork associated with that but I don't grade them per se. Sometimes a classroom teacher will add my project to an existing project so it can be part of a writing sample or Social Studies grade. We still have lots of paperwork as my desk piles would attest but it is such a fun, creative job making no day every exactly alike! Paperwork or no paperwork you will rock as a librarian-media guru!!

Japhy said...

Whoops! My daughter was signed into blogger and I didn't know. The last comment is from Peaceful Reader not my peaceful (7-yr-old) girl.

Jacquie said...

When I started to comment, the length of the comment made me realize just how much paperwork there really IS. I decided to write a posts about it at:
Librarian Paperwork

Warning! Reading the above post might cause extreme drowsiness. Do not read if you plan to operate heavy equipment.

Here is the executive summary:

Keep in mind, there can be petty job comparisons going on in schools. Everyone else’s job looks easier from the outside. Most folks don’t see the work that goes on behind the wizard’s curtain. They only see a well-run library or a poorly-run library. A good librarian often makes a well-run library look like it’s effortless. But then, so do Olympic athletes. No one is there to see them as they sweat through their training routines. They only see them as they cross the finish line, or complete a seemingly effortless triple axel at the end of their 4 minute program. It is irritating to hear folks talk about how “easy” it must be to not have grading etc to do. I just smile and say – “Well – we all have our dirty dishes. If I let mine pile up, you would certainly notice the amount of work I didn’t do.” If you tried to tell them - their eyes would glaze over.

If you do read the whole post, I hope you don’t run screaming back to your old job :-)

Ms. Yingling said...

Hmm. Not so much on the paperwork, really. I only do three minute lessons, repeated 20 times, so they are very simple. Ordering paperwork-- well, if I don't file it for seven years, I can just send it off to the district shredder. The biggest amount of work that teachers don't seem to understand is the constant stream of students who need me RIGHT NOW. I don't get planning, so sometimes at the end of the day it's really noisy in my head. But that's just me.

Victoria said...

You, A and H have a standing invitation to sup with us when you are finished with your Grad stuff. I, till then, shall remain your invisible friend. Michael, as I understand it, is your Pending "Visible Friend" upon A's approval.

shannon said...

I haven't had a lot of paperwork to deal with as a librarian.

You mentioned orders, but those are really pretty simple. The big vendors allow you to save all your information.

Jim (Teacherninja) said...

ms. yingling,
I like busy! Thanks

You guys are pre-approved. Email me: jim (dot) randolph (at) gmail (dot) com and we'll set it up!

Great to know!

Thanks, everyone!