I am finally catching up with myself, however the real test will be making sure I keep up during the summer holidays when I plan to be extremely lazy for at least the first four weeks, until I have to be back in for A-Level and GCSE results and their accompanying work for an Assistant Head of Sixth Form!
I have been professionally qualified since 2004. I initially did a BA Honours degree in English & History and then studied for my MSc in Information and Library Studies distance learning with Aberystywth, University of Wales. I always said that the reason I did my professional qualification was because I wanted to explore librarianship at all levels and across different sectors and jobs. I started as a part time library assistant in a Central Library Lending department, worked in branch libraries as a casual assistant, combined these with a part time role in the Central Library Reference department and eventually managed to gain a supervisory role in Lending until I left public libraries altogether and went into schools where I am lucky to say 'I have never looked back' such is the level of support I have received from the Principal and his team. I do know however, that part of the reason that I have received so much support from my senior management is because they respect my degree level qualifications, expecting a certain level of work from me as a result.
This blog was set up last year to help me in my chartership which I eventually signed up for in 2011 after a bit of procrastinating, husband's prolonged stays in hospital from life threatening illnesses and a pregnancy. I was always encouraged to do my chartership by my husband and my line manager (I will talk more about that relationship later), but working as a solo librarian in a school has always meant that any CPD that has come my way has been more towards the education/teaching side of my job and not my library side. However my chartership seems to be progressing fairly well although it definitely needs to be speeded up a bit because I really do need to be putting my portfolio together now and not just amassing more and more evidence and although becoming chartered won't make a bit of difference to my job or salary, it will be personally satisfying for me and my continuing professional development. Qualifications that I have considered which are outside of librarianship, include a Masters in Education and the Leading from the Middle qualification from the NCSL (National College for School Leadership) which look at five areas; leadership of innovation and change, understanding your role in leading teaching and learning, developing self confidence as a team leader, building teams of people and resources and self directed change. I have tentatively discussed these with my line manager before, but definitely need to do that chartership first!
Thing 11 is all about having a mentor. Initially I saw this as my Chartership mentor who is by the way great! Last Saturday at Libcampsw we held a Chartership session and it was generally decided that my mentor is the one to have. Seriously, I have found both my Chartership mentors (see previous posts for why I have had two) to be excellent in their support, advice and guidance with two very different styles of mentoring. My first mentor advocated very gentle encouragement, not causing me to panic and fall into a heap at the thought of all the ' extra work!' whilst my second mentor combines both understanding of the demands of a full time job with carefully thought out, but very firm targets so as to get the job done. When it comes to an informal mentor, this would be my line manager; the Vice Principal. I have been incredibly lucky to have a line manager who has always been interested in my CPD with twice yearly performance management reviews, clearly stated learning outcomes which this year were co-constructed and whilst I might have been a little taken aback to have been told that I am 'prickly', I did eventually acknowledge that she was right in saying that I needed to improve my management and leadership skills. In turn, having had such good mentors means that I should begin to consider developing my own skills as a mentor. I have had a little experience at being a buddy of a new qualified teacher who had taken the same route as I had, i.e. been a member of support staff before moving over to the teaching side, but although I enjoyed 'chatting' with my buddy and offering a friendly ear and shoulder to collapse on, I would question what both of us really gained from it. Something to consider for my performance management perhaps next term?