Here's the thing: some days, I am not with students every second. Yesterday, there were whole 5 minute periods when I wasn't talking to a student, and I felt horribly guilty. I had things to do-- checking library standards for the lesson next week, researching new titles students requested, and working for way longer than I wanted to trying to figure out Glogster because a teacher wanted to know if it would be good for students to use. (Not sold.)
Now, I work an extra three hours at school and three hours at home every day, so I put in the time. Could I work harder? Obviously. Yesterday we only checked out 180 books. Monday I checked out 334.
But yesterday, when kids weren't swarming every second, I had some great Guy Moments. Making personal connections with kids and taking time to listen to their concerns is a luxury. I get this. But you tell me-- was it worth it for me to be here for the following kids?
The boy who failed the reading section of the OAA who worked with me to put together a pile of nonfiction books that he was interested in and that he could read easily. Now, until Christmas, he can just grab one off the pile. He's been reading at least one a day, and told me yesterday "I want to pass the reading test. I think I'm reading a lot better now."
The self-avowed nonreader who snuck in during lunch to get a Bluford High book. "These are really good, " he said as I helped him pick out the next one in the series, "and they are small enough to fit behind my math book so my friends don't know I'm reading during study hall."
The boy who loves soccer who trusts me enough to check out The Boyfriend Game, which is very pink. He flinched when I handed it to him, but when I said "No, really, there's lots of soccer along with the romance," he shrugged and said "Maybe this will help me with soccer AND with girls!"
The wrestler who came in and told me that he was able to pin one of his opponents with a move he picked up from Better Wrestling For Boys (1986). "I didn't think the book would be any good because the cover was stupid, but if you hadn't shown me that there was lots of good information in it, I wouldn't have won my match."
The 8th grader who has an in-depth discussion with me about how British authors differ from US ones in their treatment of horror books. He was thrilled to get his hands on Barry Hutchison's Mr. Mumbles, especially since it is available mainly only in the UK.
And finally, the wrestler who ran into the library in a panic and said "Ms. Yingling, can you tie my tie?" I got the knot done on my neck, slipped it over his head, and help him fasten his collar buttons and get it all arranged. He ran out to his next class. After school, when I was talking to his mother, he came up and gave me a big hug and said "You saved my life! Coach would've killed me if I didn't have my tie on!"
There are going to be cuts in my district. I don't have any idea what they will be, but I am sure that library services will be affected. This has made me unbearably sad this week. Was I doing my job yesterday? Was I worth the taxpayers' money? Maybe not. But those six boys (and remember, this is just part of one day) are boys that trust me, who come to me for books, and who read a WHOLE lot more because I am here.