School has resumed, and quite frankly I’ve been a BUSY GIRL!! I’ve had many personal life changes, and throw in the mix an addition to my professional responsibilities, and that makes for a little chaos in my life right now. Finally though things are beginning to settle down. I’m going to use this space to share what’s happening.
On the home front
After ALA back in June, I settled in for my summer weeks of rest and relaxation. However, life happened and that was not to be! On the home front (literally) I moved both of my sons into two different apartments. My oldest has taken a job with the University of Pennsylvania as a Technology Specialist, and so we got him squared away in Philly in his own apartment. After returning to SC, it was time to move my youngest son, a senior at the University of South Carolina from his four-person campus apartment to a two person off-campus apartment. Now consider that my family sold our dream home five years ago, and we have lived in either apartments or rentals since then. I considered us experts on lease agreements (beginning and ending terms, etc.) It was time for us to renew our lease on our own apartment, and my husband and I decided we were tired of paying rent that seemed to rival a house payment. So we began the search for a home. This search actually sort of began in early June, with no real optimism for finding something. With both boys out of the nest, one solely independent, and one a year from graduating college, we felt we could look for a smaller scale home. I am pleased to announce we did indeed find and buy a new home, we have moved in, and we are once again happy homeowners! We’ve been in the house for roughly three weeks now. It happened a lot faster than I anticipated (thanks to our real estate agent and loan officer) but I am so HAPPY to be AWAY from apartment life!! (Here are a few pictures.) I say all this to remind you that from mid June through the first week of August, we managed to physically move our entire family to three different locations, and we did it all on our own (with the help of a Uhaul truck.) I’ve spent the last few weeks when not in school (I returned August 6) setting up housekeeping. That has taken much of my free time and ALL of my extra money.
On the professional front
I was asked to serve our state association (South Carolina Association of School Librarians) as the Regional Director. It’s a bigger role and responsibility than I’ve had before, so I’ve had to adjust to my new obligations. You can read about my role on the SCASL website. It is a transition for me to serve in this larger role, and it is taking quite a bit of my free time, but I am enjoying the opportunity to develop and cultivate more meaningful relationships with SCASL members and SC librarians across the state. I am up for this challenge, and hope I can report back later how it’s going. It’s still very early in and I’m learning on the job.
Professional Days Request – How many days do you need?
School has resumed, I have some of my own professional development opportunities looming. For the first time in a long time, it seems like EVERYTHING is happening in a single month too, or almost everything. As a school employee, we generally get a couple of days of professional time, and those dates are typically spread across the school year. Here are the ones I wanted to make formal requests JUST for October.
- October 4-6
NCSLMA School Librarians at the Core (presenter)
- October 12-13
AASL Fall Forum – Transliteracy and the School Library Program
- October 16
South Carolina State Department of Education Common Core Workshop for Librarians
- October 24 -26
SC Edtech (presenter)
- October 24-26
School Library Journal Leadership Summit
Too many days!!
Now obviously some activities overlap and some occur on the same days. Eight of the dates are actual school days with students. You know I wanted all of them, but realistically I couldn’t ask for all. You can see that I had some very difficult decisions to make. Some were expensive, others were not. Some required travel, while several are within a half hour’s drive (Greenville, SC.) Most teachers in my area get two days per semester for professional development activities. We can use two of our sick days for personal leave as well, but as you can see, I needed a lot more than that. So I had to make some TOUGH decisions.
Let the negotiating process begin
I decided to try and negotiate for them. I put in a crazy set of requests, asking for the one day of my two presentations, and then AASL Fall Forum and the Common Core Workshop. Sadly I was foregoing the SLJ Leadership Summit, even though with it in Philly, and so I had a free place to stay (with oldest son.) The cost for the flight was my deterrent to that one, while as a presenter at SC Edtech and NCSLMA, my registration is waived. NCSLMA will cost me in hotel expenses, but I have friends going so we are trying to work out sharing a room.The Common Core Workshop came as a recommended professional development I should attend by my district, and as the Regional Network Director for SCASL, I felt I should attend to model to other librarians that it IS that important. The results of my crazy requests came back with some negotiating options from admin and higher. I would be granted three days each semester, and anything above that would have to be personal day usage. Wow. That doesn’t give me a lot of wiggle room, but I feel blessed to at least have some flexibility.
So what did I choose?
Being granted three days each semester was indeed a blessing, as I still have my own state library conference in March, and it lasts three days. I’m also slated to present at TLA in April, so if I use two days for our SCASL conference and then one professional day and one personal day for TLA, I should be safe. (Note, I’ve already burned up one personal day this year to travel to Nashville for the Gamecocks opener game at Vanderbilt.) This was such a difficult decision. I’ve stepped up my active participation in both SCASL and AASL, so I really wanted to attend the AASL Fall Forum. I am on two committees, Best Websites and PreService Education, plus serving as an advisory panel member for AASL’s web presence. So attending the Fall Forum would have connected me with committee members among other friends I’ve cultivated through ALA and AASL. And it’s less than a half hour away this year! But the expense for attending AASL’s Fall Forum or School Library Journal Leadership Summit were going to be significantly greater (out-of-pocket), so I ultimately chose the NCSLMA Conference and SC Edtech. I am also attending the Common Core Workshop for school librarians given by our state department of education.
But that’s more than 3 days!!
Yes, it is. But part of the counter offer in negotiating from my district came with the acknowledgement that the district wants me to attend the Common Core Workshop, so they will not count that one in my requests. One day of SC Edtech is a workday in our district, so it will not count either. W00T!!
Tough Decisions make me
I am saddened that I will miss the Fall Forum and the SLJ Summit, and these were very tough decisions I had to make. I hope to hook up with AASL friends in Greenville during the Fall Forum even if I’m not an active participant in it. They do have to eat, and hopefully I can give some guidance on choosing dinner locales, and then JOIN them there. Twitter and other online avenues will have to suffice to glean information and networking from the SLJ Summit. I am delighted my district is open to my negotiating. I work in a wonderful place folks!!
How do others do this??
I wish I knew how others figure out how to attend all these kinds of events! I really need to hear their stories.