Take the Bull by the Horns
By Dorcas Hand, Editor of TASLTalks
School librarians stand in front of groups of students every day, all day, working our magic to lead them to stronger love of reading and understanding of information, research methods and writing. We are not always our own best advocates, but I’m here to suggest a slogan for 2017: Take the Bull by the Horns. Can’t get much more Texan – think of really LONG horns, and how important it is to stand firm when the bull tries to run us over.
Thanks to http://www.sourpussclothing.com/taxidermy-wall-hook-longhorn-bull-blk.html for the image.
Now we could be talking about the animal – but I’m trying for a metaphorical bull. It could be the administrator who says librarians don’t contribute to student achievement; the one who says librarians should be test coordinators because they aren’t doing anything else; the teacher who says a classroom library is better than a campus library – or any of a hundred others. A herd of possible longhorns trying to push us into a corner, a corner we don’t want to be in.
Thanks to http://www.commandersplacelonghorns.com/Default.aspx?id=9608&Title=OurHerd for this TX image.
So, let’s figure out how to take the bull by the horns, one bull at a time. Here is a story – a hypothetical situation for your consideration. Imagine that a district administrator issued a letter saying that librarians are important to student achievement; that they should spend the majority of their time on direct services to students and staff; and therefore likely don’t have time to be test coordinators. This letter is a suggestion rather than a new rule, but still a recognition at the district leadership level that librarians are important – essential, even – to student progress. The letter went to principals and librarians. What would you do, if that happened in your district?
You could wait to hear from your principal that you would no longer be assigned test duties. Or you could take this bull by the horns by going to the principal with the letter in hand to say that you expect to be able to honor the district’s intent, that you intend to be working with students all year long rather than managing the test schedule and oversight.
This is only one example of how you might take the bull by the horns: stand up to be counted as a strong force in behalf of student achievement in collaboration with teachers, stand up to represent library best practices. Your personal challenge as you look to the rest of the 2016-17 school year is to set yourself at least one Take the Bull by the Horns Opportunity on your campus. We will all stand up to the bull together, pushing back against and educating our campus and district administrators who don’t yet understand how important our work is in support of student progress to love of learning and reading and life.