Sunday, February 26, 2006

Other Duties as Requ

Other Duties as Required….

All school librarian jobs come with a list of “other duties as required” which is long and varied.   I know of one librarian who is responsible for all the laminating at her school.  Over 1000 pieces a month – she even keeps a count!  Librarians are frequently responsible for lunch or playground duty.  Sometimes the library is closed and the librarian becomes an emergency classroom teacher when a sub is a no show.

My own list is lengthy.  In my 15 years, I have:
  1. Chaperoned field trips

  2. Baked dozens and dozens of brownies to serve at reading celebrations

  3. Supervised kids in trouble when the Assistant Principal’s office is on overflow

  4. Housed a student when their teacher just “had to get him/her out of their sight”

  5. Provided jobs for teacher assistant subs that nobody wants

  6. Tutored

  7. Taught Gifted and Talented classes

  8. Set up computers, TV/VCR combos, DVDs.  Somehow; if it plugs in, then it’s my job

  9. Moved the library- twice

  10. Kept children who couldn’t go on field trips

  11. Provided extension cords, batteries, puppets, globes, tape, pencils, scissors, overhead lamps,  chocolate and hugs

  12. Rearranged furniture to accommodate  last minute speakers

  13. Served as the cafeteria when the cafeteria was needed for a program.

  14. Instructed teachers in Password  101

  15. Made coffee

  16. Cleaned tables

  17. Hosted showers and parties

However, last Tuesday, during the TAKS test I had the end all of be all  “other duties as required”.

The TAKS test is an all day affair.  The students are allowed if they need to or wish to stay after school to finish it.  Tuesday’s test was a marathon in endurance.  The kids overflowed the library and this was despite some teachers opting to keep their kids in class.  Accommodating this many children gets tricky since the rules require that a trained in test administration, certified teacher be in attendance at all times.

One of  the 5th graders, who in charge of his only 1 year younger sister couldn’t find her anywhere.  We finally figured out she’d gone home on the bus and since he had the only key to their apartment, she was locked out.  Her apartment complex, which is Section 8 housing and  filled with Katrina evacuees via  FEMA vouchers is not the sort of place where a pretty little 10 year girl needs to be hanging about with no place to go.  Her family is from New Orleans too and they haven’t any friends here.   The girl has some issues and isn’t allowed to stay home alone.

The Principal dispatched me to go and get her and bring her back to school to wait for her brother to finish up.   I took the apartment key, got into my car and set off.

The apartment complex was grim, it is large and sprawling, the buildings painted the color of elephant poop (it helps keep the gang graffiti under control), the parking lot full of ruts and holes and the grass dry and battered into a matted pulp. It was swarming with children, running and out from the dented cars and the dumpsters, swinging on the spindly trees and climbing on the balconies and railings.  Leave It to Beaver or Maybury RFD is wasn’t.  

I found the girl sitting on the front stoop of her apartment.  Just sitting, not looking anxious, not wondering just sitting looking resigned.  I told her I needed to take her back to school and she said she couldn’t go till she walked the pit bulls.  One was chained to the railing by the front door, the other inside in a crate.  

So we opened up the door and there was indeed a dog in a crate.  The only other furniture was a new couch and chair that had a “rent to own” look about them and the largest big screen TV I’ve ever seen.  We walked the dogs, chained them up again and headed back to school.

I’ve had many, many “other duties as required” but this is the first time I’ve been asked to walk the Pit Bulls. .

Luckily they were friendly Pit Bulls..


Tired Tunia said...

Thanks for reminding me why I work in a public librarian and not in school media! I've often toyed with the idea -- school librarians get paid a whole lot more in NY, and have all the vacations too. Besides the extra schooling and teacher certification I'd need to get, I just don't think it is for me!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this line, which was the source of one of the biggest laughs I have had this week...

"However, last Tuesday, during the TAKS test I had the end all of be all “other duties as required”."

I couldn't wait to read what came next! I knew it was going to be good... and it was!

: )
: )

Here in central Fla. we are somewhat removed from the refugee fallout, thanks to sheer geographical distance (unlike perhaps schools in Florida's panhandle)... but I saw so much of my school's librarian in your laundry list of all the things you do. I'm sure a lot of readers will relate, too. Very funny and well written. Thanks for sharing.