January 21, 2014
You just never know with teens. This school year has been a bit of a learning curve in my present library. Not because I’m new to the school [or to libraries, for that matter], but because when I came last year it was in an unfamiliar position—a true learning curve—as a fourth grade teacher. The initiation into life here, then, was a rather harrowing one. And it left me overly stressed for much of the beginning of this year: I suspect simply because I got used to a high level of work stress and was afraid to sink into a more natural one for me . . . a “too good to be true” mindset, perhaps. All that to say, I’ve been figuring out this librarian thing all over again ☺
One thing I did without thinking too much about it was bending the old rules a bit by allowing the high schoolers to bring their lunch in. After watching them stand in the hallway with their plates for months, so eager to get into the library that they were unwilling to “waste” the time in the cafeteria, I just beckoned to them one day. “Come on in.” I said with a sigh. They looked at me oddly. “Just bring your lunches and come in.” I told them that so long as they sat at the table in the uncarpeted area while they were eating, it would be ok to come in. They nodded eagerly in agreement and the select few has ritually dined in the library ever since. I need to be in the library for both lunch periods, available for checkout, so am accustomed to saving in-library projects for that time frame, when I can busy about without being fully engaged as I am when teaching library classes. So I have grown accustomed to just doing my work and half-listening as they talk. Recently I realized, however, that I have also grown to look forward to this period of the day. With my normal elementary workload, I’ve found it refreshing to experience the high school world. And I’ve started to suspect that a few of them kind of like me as well [a suspicion that brings out the best—er, worst?— in my dorky desire to be one of the popular kids ;-)].
One of the girls who comes in bears an aura of devil-may-care about her. She is in her own world, and doesn’t really care what others think of her . . . or so it seems. I’ve started to notice, however, little indications of sensitivity tucked underneath that sarcastic exterior. And it has given me the desire to let her know that I enjoy having her around. With this sort of adolescent phase, I know better than to try to pry, or be overly affectionate. Instead, then, I just casually drop hints as best I can: hints that I think she is pretty cool.
This afternoon I packed up my things as usual to head out once I was done. If students are wanting to study in the library after hours, though, I try to allow it. I will just leave them there and return later to lock up. Doing so today, then, this particular student was reading as I left. I told her I was heading out and said that if she was gone when I returned, I hoped she had a good evening. She waved goodbye to me and I went out for my walk with a coworker. Later on I came back to lock up and almost missed a note on my desk. When I did see it, however, I grinned heartily. It was no big deal, really. But this small note spoke volumes to me. It spoke of the value behind each small moment of a day. It spoke of a brimming heart hidden beneath a gruff exterior.