Building Common Ground • Student Teachers & New Teachers

This lesson is about student teachers and new teachers. These are potential advocates in your classrooms, in your school right now, either working through internships or working in their first years professionally. Introducing them to the school library program through support, through resources and relationship building is a really great way to foster eventual partners for the school library program. So here we'll talk about introducing these professionals or pre-service professionals to the library, induction in professional development, showing interest in their work and giving curricular support and finally, reaching out to universities supervisors.

So we'll start with a thinking exercise. What are some common questions that student teachers or new teachers have when they come into the library? What do they know and what do you wish they knew? When you think about those areas maybe it's using the Internet that is an area of frequently asked questions or where things are in the library or how to find books on students' reading levels, there are a lot of ways that you can contribute to the professional growth of new and newer teachers.

One of the ways that you can support this is through professional development or inductions. So perhaps with new teachers, for instance, let's focus on them, you might offer a back-to-school professional development induction focusing on the role of the school librarian, providing collaboration examples, and sharing really useful resources like passwords for school databases, policies, services and offerings of the school library.

You could also prepare some resources at the ready, making a folder and/or a website that's ready to go with maybe a video welcome, frequently asked questions, tips on the catalogue, maybe a student recorded video tour of the library and then, of course, essential things like the schedule policy, hours and services. It's the laminator in that library, how do we sign out devices. Sometimes offering that information ahead of time can really give a person confidence, it's like stepping into a new space for yourself for the first time. You don't quite know where things are or where to go. If you can provide that information it makes for a more welcoming experience.    

If you have the chance to offer professional development either for new teachers or maybe as part of a student-teacher seminar, you might consider apps for learning, reference databases, developing an inquiry question, intellectual property, whatever you do, keep it focused and attend to the needs of new teachers. Think about where their needs are and how the library program can support those. To find out what some of their needs are just ask, make sure you're not just feeding information, but inventory, either through a Google form or maybe just some casual conversation. Use some examples of possible collaborative lessons particularly if they're not familiar with that co-teaching or supportive role in curricular integration with the school library program.

Another thing to do is to reach out to your university supervisors. If yours is a school that hosts student teachers perhaps they might have a weekly seminar, maybe with the okay of your district, of course, you could host the seminar in the school library after school. Maybe you could provide a session on one of the topics that I mentioned for professional development or something that aligns with their particular program of study. Many student teachers have to do a certain number of lesson plans as well as a unit plan aligning with standards.

Here's a really great way to introduce the student teachers to the expertise of the school librarian plus you're showing them not only that you can help them to survive their student teaching, but you're demonstrating the potential partnership the school librarian can have with these teachers once they get jobs and become professionals. The university supervisors also witness this partnership and this willingness on your behalf and may look to incorporate the school library into the student teacher's assignments or reflections or some of their work as student teachers.

So through reaching out to university supervisors, showing interest in giving curricular support, induction of professional development and then overall reaching out in a special way to student teachers and new teachers you're building potential advocates for the school library program and ultimately as all of these topics are about, building student learning opportunities across professionals in the school.

MLA Citation Morris, Rebecca J. "Building Common Ground: Student Teachers & New Teachers ." School Library Connection, September 2015,

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Entry ID: 1980853

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