Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Be Your Own Coach

Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Be Your Own Coach

Article excerpt

I understood the discouragement that many media specialists shared in a late December 2009 discussion on LM_NET. One media specialist was dismayed about being left out of a reading initiative. Another shared the familiar story about not being perceived as a 'real teacher.' Yet overall, I'm positive.

I'M often asked, "Have you ever been a coach? You always stay so positive and have upbeat suggestions." No, I've never been a coach, and I'm not immune to negative thoughts. I understood the discouragement that many media specialists shared in a late December 2009 discussion on LM_NET. One media specialist was dismayed about being left out of a reading initiative. Another shared the familiar story about not being perceived as a "real teacher." Yet overall, I'm positive.

Notwithstanding the challenges of change, unallottments, and more than enough to do, media specialists have pretty darn good jobs. We can have exciting and fulfilling careers with a lot of variety and flexibility The consistency of change provides countless opportunities for learning something new and doing something different. Every day and each hour of every day can be unique. There are very few occasions for boredom and routine. That's a positive.

POSITIVE THINKING

In no particular order of importance, here are a few ideas to encourage positive thinking. This is by no means a "fit all situations" list - just some practical tips.

Focus on what you can control. There is always something to do, and much of the time it's something you can control, especially if you can remain flexible in how you plan and what you do each day. If technology isn't working or you are tired of fighting technology battles, step back and pay more attention to the print side of the job. Attack a media program administrative project or develop an instructional activity. You'll feel a sense of accomplishment and, at least temporarily, be less frustrated.

Change your work scenery. Feeling isolated in your office? Pack up your work and move to another location in the media center. You'll see your physical work environment differently and possibly interact with people differently. Visit with teachers who are positive and upbeat. Spend extra time with a student; that's why we're there.

Step away from the big issues for a while. One of the nice things about being a media specialist is that there are always plenty of little tasks that need to be done. Free your mind from what drives you nuts. Clean out your electronic or paper filing system. Throw out some old books or update the website or blog. Collect data that will come in handy later. Keep a "to do" list so there is always something you can do when you step away from the big issues.

Learn something new. Many media specialists are rapidly becoming the Web 2.0 gurus in their schools. It takes only minutes to acquire the basics of Web 2.0 tools when you draw on your repertoire of transferable technology skills. The newest addition to my collection is Doodle (www.doodle.com), a free online tool for scheduling events or taking a poll. What a convenient and practical little tool! There are many "doodles" for you to explore. Spend a few minutes with something you can apply in your work setting and share with others. It's a great mood booster. Become part of a professional learning community that studies topics related to educational issues. Others may be amazed at your wide range of expertise or interest in a topic that they might not have expected a media specialist to know or care about.

Keep an occasional work log. My job requires me to travel throughout our school district. I keep a record of my travels as a record of what I do, in case someone asks. I may use the information in future reports. And I can use it as a self-reminder that "I'm doing something worthwhile," on those days I might feel a bit discouraged.

Work with the living. Many media specialists feel isolated or frustrated by the challenges of collaboration. …

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