My experience in my Media Specialist program is over. I’ve finished the last course reflection, applied for graduation (and may have missed the deadline but that’s a different story), and have scheduled a date to take the PRAXIS test (already postponed once thanks to coronavirus). Now, I’m entering that next phase of the adventure – the job hunt. I’ve previously posted about this job hunt already but I feel like it’s something that is crucial to my adventures as an aspiring librarian. Through my job hunt, I’ve learned that you can be great, you can do your very best in the interview and still not get the job and I’ve learned that sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone and be prepared to take a leap of faith, dare to try something different, think about things differently – and that’s the point of this post.
I’ve previously posted about my first application, interview, and rejection for a Media Specialist job in my district so if you’re interested in that story, see that post. The first interview was for a “dream” middle school. Magnet school, focused on writing and reading, close to my home – it was exactly what I thought I wanted. But I didn’t get it. I threw myself a pity party and moved on, doing my best to convince myself that it wasn’t meant to be, that I wouldn’t have been able to do as much good there.
My second interview and potential job opportunity came about during this coronavirus closure. A Title I middle school in my district was hiring a Media Specialist. Title I scared me. I’d always said that I’d never teach at such-and-such middle school because the kids were rough and the conditions were tough. But my goal as a Media Specialist was to help the students, to help those kids who really and truly needed me. Was there a chance I could really do a good job and not burnout at Title I school?
I thought long and hard before I put in my application. In my district, if you apply and interview for a job but don’t take it, that blacklists you among the other principals. So you have to be sure you’d take it if offered before you apply. This school was farther away and would definitely be a challenge. But, again, I would also have the opportunity to do some real good, to really reach students at this school. And, because I was friends with their Instructional Coach and had worked with her in the past (and had helped her with Beta Club questions), I figured I had a pretty good chance of getting the job so I needed to be sure I wanted it (and could handle it) before I applied.
But my end goal is to be a librarian. And to be where I can do good. I applied. I interviewed – a virtual interview which was not easy and not fun – and I waited. Thanks to my willingness to lead Beta Club, my energy and passion, and my ties to the IC, I let my hopes get way up. I waited through all of Spring Break and convinced myself that I hadn’t heard because they had to clear some HR hurdles to hire me since my certification wasn’t official until May. Finally, the Tuesday after Spring Break, I followed up and received an email back that, while I had had great energy and done a great job, they’d hired someone with experience.
That is the hardest part of a job hunt, any job hunt. To be told that you nailed it, you were awesome, you were great, you just don’t have experience? Well, how am I supposed to get experience if you won’t give me a chance? Even though the “thanks but no thanks” email from the principal was really nice and positive, my hopes were dashed once more. It didn’t help that it was right along that time that I read the book, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, and my passion for reading and encouraging students to read just burned brighter. I wanted to be a librarian.
And so now, as I move forward in this job hunt, I am at least sure of one thing – I have what it takes to be a librarian. I have the drive, the passion, the go-get-em attitude. I may not have “legit” experience as an actual librarian (although I did work at a public library so doesn’t that count for something?) but I’ve gained much hands-on experience through my Marshall practicum and working in my school’s library. I just have to find somewhere that will give me a chance.
I’ve also decided that, if your desire for something is strong enough, you have to be willing to take a leap of faith or step out of your comfort zone to achieve your desire. I’ve applied for a Media Specialist position at an Intermediate School (grades 4-6) which is something I never thought I would do. I can’t do elementary, I’ve always said. I want to be a librarian, not a Related Arts teacher – which is what I kind of feel like library is in elementary school. Then, I did some research into the school and talked to some people who have taught there. I spent a couple hours browsing their website and their teacher websites. Grades 4-6. Teaching lessons on digital citizenship, library skills. Read-alouds (hello, Animorphs!!) And so, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I have to be willing to do something different. I have to be willing to take a step outside my comfort zone and who knows?
Maybe I’ll find that’s where I’m meant to be.