Wednesday, September 24, 2008

i hate to hate teachers, but i do

if my life we were west side story i'd be the head of a librarian gang, and we would meet a gang of teachers in the streets and rumble with them. grrrrrr. teachers. my sworn enemies.

so i get a call from a teacher a few weeks ago, asking me if she can bring her class into the library. sure! we love that! then she said she and another teacher actually want to bring in two classes, and that she wants all the students to get library cards. sure! we love that!

i explained two things to her. TWO. two important things:
1. upon hearing that each class had 25-30 kids in it, i explained that i absolutely could not have two classes in the library at once. the meeting room isn't big enough, we don't have enough staff, etc. so i suggested she and this other teacher bring their classes separately, one at 10:30 and one at 11:30.

2. if you are bring 50-60 children into the library, we cannot make cards for all 50-60 of them on the spot. can't be done. it's physically impossible. there's no time, and again we don't have enough staff. maybe if we had some enslaved elves in the back room we could swing it, but alas with budget cuts we have no enslaved elves. no fair. so i explained that she should immediately come into the library, get library card applications, give them to her students, and then bring them back one week BEFORE they visit. that way we will have the cards ready when the students get here.

tell me honestly dear blog readers, is any of this hard to comprehend? i think not. as i said, it is merely TWO things.

so when 60 children showed up at 10:30 am this morning, all with completed library applications in hand, assuming they would all be given cards before leaving, i was more than a little annoyed. the teacher explained to me that they thought they'd walk over together "as a group." (i've heard this before and usually it is a nice way of saying "one of our teachers is scared to walk here with the kids by herself," you know, because it's the hood) well, if you all walk over "as a group," then you obviously are not coming in two separate groups at two separate times as i had instructed. what did they think was going to happen with this second group?

i couldn't leave 30 kids in the library (or standing outside the library) without any activity so i dealt with all 60 at once. chaos ensued. i mean, it was good chaos. the kids asked lots of questions about the library and were pretty well-behaved considering that there were so many of them. but i was peeved. i like order. order is good.

less than half of them had library cards so only about 20 of them could check out books, but still 20 school children trying to check out books at one time is a bit insane. especially considering there are only 3 employees here today (i am in charge!). and then all 40 other kids were complaining that they didn't have cards and it took all my self-restraint not to say "well if your teacher had listened to me and dropped the applications off beforehand you would have a card." but luckily i didn't say that.

anyway, after 90 minutes they are finally gone and all is quiet now. ahhhhhh.


Her Mother said...

i feel your pain. I know that there are good teachers out there, but, alas, i have dealt with similar stupidity. as in, once a teacher assigned all her 120 seventh grade students to find magazine articles on Tyrannasaurus Rex that had been written IN THE LAST THREE MONTHS!! yeah right, this is a really hot topic iin the tabloids. practically as good as Lindsay Lohan. so, i spent my Saturday at work trying to jump through that set of hoops.

Anonymous said...

Hey, don't hate teachers... 99% percent of us are smart and do a good job. Don't forget there's one in your family ;)

Her Mother said...

I agree with Anonymuous, and confess that I myself couldn't hack it as a teacher - it's the hardest job in the world. and the one in our family is particularly gifted, compassionate, effective and of course, beautiful and charming.

Syd said...

I think all students would be required to have a Library card. Don't they have a required summer reading list?

Miss Dewey Decimal said...

mom & annonymous: you know i respect teachers. i could go on and on about how hard teaching is, and how important education is to the future of our society. but i think that might be why the teachers i encounter on the job frustrate me so much. it's a love hate thing i guess.

syd: we cannot require children to have library cards, especially since their parents will be held accountable if they lose any items, or rack up late fees. in order to get a card a child must come in with their parent or guardian. since most of my kids are "latchkey" getting an adult to accompany them to the library for even 5 minutes is a monumental task.

teachers do have a mandatory summer reading lists. often these lists are created without checking to see if the library actually owns the books on the list (sorry, had to get that jab in there). while there are many kids that do read these books over the summer, i had plenty of kids come in the first week of school and ask me to look at their list and pick the "skinniest" book for them. then they sat and skimmed it for several minutes, copied the back cover blurb word for word, then replaced the book on the shelf without checking it out.