Kelly McPartlin:  Teaching Philosophy As a School Library Media Specialist

As a School Library Media Specialist (SLMS), I will concentrate on inspiring others to learn by exploration, foster a love of reading, help students seek solutions to problems by asking questions, and to facilitate turning curiosity into learning opportunities.  I will help students discover, learn, and explore any of those opportunities.  I will guide them to the paths they are seeking while providing library experiences that support a rigorous learning environment.

I find it of utmost importance to maintain flexibility and to understand the different learning needs of various students.  I will adapt lessons and strategies to the various learning needs of students and the environment.  In addition, I will find ways to engage and encourage learning at students’ own paces and learning levels (through enrichment activities, makerspaces, etc.).  I believe in student led learning and reference by inquiry driven learning, instead of simply providing answers. I ask students questions that encourage their own thought processes, opinions, and idea forming.  Higher level and open ended questioning set the expectation of academic rigor and promote higher level thinking. My role as a SLMS is to provide guidance and direction, while I help prepare students as lifelong learners.

As a SLMS, I will always foster and encourage a love of reading.  I will ensure open access to a diverse collection and a wide range of materials and information.  Reading comes in many forms, from traditional books to e-books to graphic novels to how-to guidebooks.  I will ensure that there is large variety of materials to choose from, as each student can be inspired to read with various materials.  

I will strive to provide a collaborative learning space that is accessible to the entire school.  I will encourage all students to explore things they do not understand by learning about them through reading and exploration. Awareness of self, awareness of others, awareness of the learning environment, and community awareness encourage students to learn and grow.  This exploration can take on many forms, from exploring through technology and STEAM-based kits and lessons to planning a community read-a-thon to raise awareness about a community issue.

Modeling use of technology at an age appropriate level is a crucial part of my philosophy.  Not only should students be able to see the SLMS effectively use technology, they should see it as a positive, interactive tool that they can not only enjoy, but they can find it easy to use and help them with their learning processes.  Information literacy, including safe, appropriate, responsible, and ethical information use, should also be regularly modeled for students.

It is extremely important to understand the SLMS role as part of the collaborative team at the school.  I will provide support, guidance, and assistance to classroom teachers, school staff, and school administration.  Providing relevant, team and curriculum-based suggestions and opportunities on all levels, from groups of students to classrooms to school-wide initiatives, is one critical aspect of my role as a SLMS.  

The School Library Media Specialist is a positive, inspiring,enthusiastic teacher and leader to children, team member to teachers, and support to the school.  As the SLMS I will encourage and foster student growth, development, and learning opportunities while maintaining a technologically savvy, diverse, and welcoming school library space.