The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian: Teacher Librarian Reflection Expat Experience Year 1

litldebbieOne year reflection, professionally –

Let’s face it. The elephant in the room is that I moved to Hong Kong initiated by the elimination of teacher librarians from my former school district (that I appreciate still having a leave of absence from). I had the silly notion that if I went away for a few years, things will sort themselves out and I could possibly return to another teacher librarian position. When I visited with colleagues this Spring, I received a message loud and clear: “Dream on. Rethink your dreams.”

What I walked away with was a squished dream but an adamant- “WHY? Why should I let go of a dream job that keeps challenging me? Why should I let go of a passion that keeps me going day after day?” It made me angry, disappointed, and heartbroken. In the past position I held in Oregon for 13 years, I did speak up. I did advocate. I did volunteer at least 25 hours a week on extracurricular programs that raised awareness and appreciation of teacher librarians.

What did it provide for me?

A new starting point. One that I am passionate about. One that I’m appreciating and enjoying. One that is helping my family blossom in and grow. One that helped me avoid a terrible class size and disappointing shift in my former school district that my son would have slipped through the cracks in. I am grateful for this new opportunity. I have enjoyed a year of growth, inspiration, and new opportunities. I never in my life, really, would have expected to live in Asia before 2012. But here my family is. Sometimes it is a terrible, frustrating struggle. But overall, I’ve moved to an area that is inspiring, has great access to other locations to visit, and I’m surrounded by so many amazing, talented, bright, inspiring people who have already experienced what I’m experiencing.

DebbieandPeteWhat a life opportunity this has been.

So where are we headed? Who knows. I do know that this was the first year that my stress level was considerably lower in the Spring towards my job security. I certainly still advocate. I volunteer my time still. I enjoy the opportunities but now… I feel valued in a way I didn’t before. I know it is a money situation in Oregon that let down and disappointed thousands of children, parents, and educators for the past years. I know how lucky I was to be in a teacher librarian position in Oregon as long as I was… But honestly, it was a relief to skip attending budget hearings, speaking on behalf of specialists, and having tough conversations with my fantastic former principal. What an incredible relief. My husband has noticed the change as well. We had different situations to contend with this year, but we both noted the improvement and excitement that my son has shown this past year. We are quite grateful.

I’ve explored my own choice of professional development personal studies this summer… this is after attending five workshops/conferences during the year which were quite exciting and inspiring. I never really tire of learning about what colleagues are doing, what online resources are new, and what books might be fantastic to share with children in the future.
I’ve explored hundreds of blogs, read through numerous fantastic books, and loved exploring this page most of all:
Talk about a resource way too packed with information to take in with just one sitting.

Here were my highlights:

My personal mission is to explore these curation tools over the next month:

I created this to start off in Sqworl:

It was a bit of a relief that I’ve already used some of these resources, so not everything is new. Thankfully, since I’ve explored hundreds of resources in the past, it doesn’t take too long for me to familiarize myself with new tools. The trick for me is to determine where these tools appropriately fit into my professional future.
I also appreciated this Mentormob introduction, thinking of using Mentormob this fall in a conference presentation I’ve committed to:
And these Web 2.0 Tools on a ThingLink image:


Also, loved this Developing 21st Century Critical Thinkers Infographic, shared by a Facebook friend:

Courtesy of: Mentoring Minds

Visit other Hong Kong updates here:

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5 comments on “Styling Librarian: Teacher Librarian Reflection Expat Experience Year 1

  1. lenorelook
    July 26, 2013

    I’m very grateful that you followed your destiny to HK. Otherwise, we might never have met. I’m so grateful to have been a part of your first year, and soon to be a part of your second year, though in a different way! Looking forward to Kung-Fuing with you at Shaolin Temple in a week!

    • The Styling Librarian
      July 27, 2013

      Kismet, right? 🙂 Can’t wait to adventure and Kung Fu with you soon!! Quite grateful as well!! 🙂 For now, just recovering from YangShuo, glad we are giving ourselves some time this week… although the kiddo will have his own adventure this coming week at Ocean Park…

  2. Debra Rosenquist
    July 26, 2013

    I really enjoy your blog and hearing about your adventures in Hong Kong. I recommended your blog to a colleague who is taking a leave to work at a school in Morocco. As a classroom teacher it saddens and frustrates me that due to budget cuts we are losing our teacher-librarians. Our wonderful librarian at my school was excessed twice in the last few years. Springtime is indeed a stressful time as we wait to see if our school budgets pass and find out who has lost a job. I now turn to my online teacher-librarians for guidance and inspiration.

    • The Styling Librarian
      July 27, 2013

      Thanks for keeping up with the adventures. I try not to be too negative about the teacher-librarian situation but thought I should officially reflect at least once a year about it… Hopefully your friend enjoys Morocco! I’m so grateful for the online teacher librarian presence, so inspiring!

  3. Pingback: Teacher Librarian Reflection Expat Experience Year 1 – The Styling … « LibeRaCe’s Library Blog

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