Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Extreme Personality Leakage

Those who know me well know that, unless stressed, I read 2-3 books per day, devouring up to six if inspired. When stressed, I fret incessantly about the inappropriateness of my  thrift store, cardigan-and-pleated-skirt wardrobe.

I've read two books in a week and am contemplating low rise jeans and a shirt other than a polo.

This impacts my blog. Even though I have posted almost every day since January, I have probably been less informative and interactive of late, and certainly much less amusing. I apologize.

There's nothing major. My children are at an age where they are trying, mostly in annoying ways, to prove they don't need me, while my parents, without trying, need me more each day.

My union made the news, and I will say only that while I don't agree with them at all, I will follow their dictates to preserve my peaceful working relationship with fellow teachers. After I escaped threatened cuts for this year, the school board could offer to pay me in coal and turnips and have my health care delivered telepathically by a holistic shaman (which I believe is our governor's plan), and I'd make it work. But there is nothing I can do.

Sustained Silent Reading time, during which I have instructed classes for the past five years, was cut at my school, just at the time when need to deliver state curriculum and common core standards to all students. I have no idea how I will do that.

Nevertheless, I have decided that my slogan for the year is "Be Your Own Hero". I will do what I can to make my library program a success, help out others in the building, and most of all, focus on what I do best and is ultimately the most important thing-- getting the right book to the right child at the right time, for all 750 of my students.

I had a dream last night (not the one where Legolas, as played by Orlando Bloom, asks me to take over the Elven library) that a nearby well-to-do district had its middle school librarian of 40 years retire, and they head hunted me. They were attracted to my encyclopedic knowledge of middle grade literature, my ability to match books with children, my singing on the morning announcements, and the general quirkiness of my personality that begins with my insistence on wearing vintage prom dresses to work just because I can and culminates in my desire to die at my library desk instead of retire.

If I worked for them, they said, the children would come every week to the library for books and a library lesson (technology being covered in another class), I would never be asked to cover a study hall or close the library for school pictures or meetings, my budget would be $6,000, I would have a full time assistant, and they would renovate the library to my specifications, just as they did for the retiring librarian when she was hired in 1972. They wanted, they said, for me to be happy, because then I would do my best work.

I wonder how Superman trained to be able to leap over buildings in a single bound. It couldn't have been easy. I suspect he started hopping over chairs and tables, and built his way up, like the 4H participants who pick up a calf every day of its life until one day they find themselves lifting a 400 pound animal. 

Superhero training begins today. It can only help things improve. 


  1. I feel your pain! Three cheers for carrying on and doing what's right for kids!!!


  2. I loved your perspective. I live in the city you do, but I teach in a different district, though not the dream district. Tough times to be an educator, certainly. You do such wonderful work and are truly appreciated. I think the dream district would also like to give you a bonus for your wonderful blog, too! ;) Keep leaping over those chairs-you'll soon be over buildings, for sure!

  3. Loved reading your personality leakage - keep doing what you do best! That's hard stuff to deal with, but you can do it.

  4. certainly the best super hero origin story i've ever read. go get 'em ms. yingling!

  5. I like the previous comment. So ... ditto to that. :]

  6. Oh boy, I sympathize. Sometimes it seems like no one values our work and we're endlessly being asked to do more with less. Theoretically I should insert some kind of upbeat message here, but I'm too busy hyperventilating. Take time for yourself!

  7. Dawn Rankin9:59 PM EDT

    I think that we are cut from the same cloth! I just happened upon this blog tonight and BAM! felt that we should be friends. :) I like your "Be Your Own Hero" idea...

  8. These are very scary times as far as schools go. A friend told me that in Pawling NY they laid off a very successful reading teacher because she had the audacity to teach kids how read not to take tests.
    As a slow reader, I find it amazing that you can read 2-3 books a day - I can't tell you how I wish I could do that.

  9. I have a giant (6 foot by 4 foot) banner on the library wall that says, "It's all about attitude." The sign is there for me, not for my students. "Be your own hero" is a good motto for what you do, getting the right book at the right time to the right child. That should meet anyone's definition.

  10. This is a very hard time to be a school librarian. But I absolutely think that you're a hero. Whenever anyone asks me about books for middle school students, I send them your way. I don't know how you read as many books as you do, but I am in awe. And your students are very lucky.

  11. Librarians are unsung heroes in the school system. That said, you can do it!

  12. Ah gee. Good luck to you in all areas of difficulty!

  13. Anonymous2:02 PM EDT

    If anyone can be a superhero, you can!