I’m sitting in my lounge room. It’s Sunday night. There is one week left of school for Term 1 2017. Like teachers everywhere, and students too I suspect, I’m counting down to holidays. Unlike my colleagues, however, that countdown is filled with dread. I keep wishing that I could stop the calendar marching on, and when I turned back the clock by 1 hour this morning at the end of Daylight Savings, I wanted to keep those hands spinning, to claim a bit more time back. I’m not ready for this term to be done yet. Not by a long shot.
If you’ve been reading my blog over recent years, you’ll know that in 2014 I started working in the library at my wonderful school, and I fell in love. Deeply, passionately in love. Being a teacher librarian has been the most extraordinary discovery of my career in education, and I’m so grateful for the past three years in the wonderful Library@Evans. But at the beginning of this term, 2 days after my last post on this blog which marked the completion of my Masters in Teacher Librarianship, I was given heartbreaking news. Due to the complexities of the staffing system in the DEC, the position I’d been filling for the past three years had been given to someone else. Rather than me having the opportunity to apply for it when it was advertised, someone from another school had been appointed to it.
I know it seems dramatic, to talk about how my world felt like it had been ripped apart. I’m not unemployed, after all. I still get to continue working at a school I have loved for 11 years now. But I’m devastated. No amount of platitudes given by well-meaning colleagues about how I’ll get to go on and make a difference in another school library are helping, because I don’t WANT to work anywhere else. No amount of comparing before and after photos, and measuring the enormous impact my work has had on the reading culture in the library, the environment, the sense of connection and belonging that students now feel, none of that makes this heartbreak feel any less horrendous, because I know just how much more we had planned to do. Every day brings a new reminder of the different we have made, and every day brings a new reminder that none of that matters, because time marches on, and in 5 days I will walk out the doors of the library, leaving it in the hands of someone else.
I get to meet her tomorrow, and I hope she appreciates the wonderful gift she is getting. Our library is an extraordinary place, with a wonderful group of students, and fantastic staff. I hope she sees the potential in this living, breathing heart of our school. I hope she picks up where I have left off, and continues to help it to grow into the amazing space that we have been envisioning and working towards for the past three years. And I hope I get through our meeting without bursting into tears. Because as much as I want her to succeed, I also want her to just disappear, and this whole drama to have been a terrible nightmare.
But it’s not. This is my reality. I’m now officially a teacher librarian, according to the department, and I’m about to lose my library. Next term, I’m joining the HSIE faculty, which in itself feels weird. I still have a desk and a whole lot of resources in the English staffroom, which had been my home for 8 years. But it seemed strange to choose to go backwards, and HSIE have been wonderful to me over the past few years. It’s also, in many ways, the least disruptive decision I could have made, once I was given my options about what would happen once my time in the library was over. I feel like I’ve spent the past 10 weeks doing my utmost to make sure that everything is going to be fine for everyone else. Writing handbooks and transition plans for the new TL. Reassuring students that it’s all going to be fine. Putting together troubleshooting guides to manage technology so that someone else can try and deal with it all when I’m not there to do it. Discovering just how easily replaceable I am.
As hard as it is to contemplate moving on, I’m keeping an eye on job ads, hoping for a Teacher Librarian position in a school close to home. I’m asking around for info about schools with exec who are supportive of libraries in schools, and adding them to my transfer application. I’m trying to decide what to take with me when I leave the library – most of the furniture, gathered over months of scouring garage sales and facebook groups, will stay, but some of my special features, like the TARDIS and a few special cushions and frames, will come with me. And I’m wondering just how much longer I can keep holding it together, and pretending that this is all going to be ok. Five more days.
On Friday, our school staff are having a “Taste of Harmony” lunch, which is usually something I really look forward to on the last day of Term 1. This term, though, I’m giving it a miss. I’ll be spending lunch time in my favourite place, surrounded by my favourite students. I’ll be loaning out books, and helping locate assignment resources. I’ll be talking about fantastic authors, stories, and comics. I’ll be giving out packets of “book worms” to those kids who sign up to the Premier’s Reading Challenge, and harassing kids with overdues to bring their book back, but still letting them take an extra one to read over the holidays. And I’ll be treasuring every second of the harmony we’ve worked hard to create in the Library@Evans. Because every second of the past three years, in the best job I’ve ever had, has been extraordinary, and I don’t want to waste a single second that I have left.
I was planning on sharing some photos here, to show you, dear reader, the wonderful space I’ve had the honour and privilege of working in for the past three years, but it’s too hard to pick. Every one of them is so wonderful. So, I’ll direct you to the @evanslibrary instagram feed. It’s a wonderful little capsule of what we’ve done, and it makes me immensely proud. I know this has been a sorrow-filled post, and I’m sorry about that. Thank you for indulging my vent. I hope that, at some point soon, I’ll be able to share a wrap up of the fantastic accomplishments we’ve made. Right now, I’m just counting the hours I have left. I’ve lost count of the tears that have flowed over the course of this term, and I know that flood will continue. Five more days.