Oops! Living on a Lonely Island No More…


It is week #3 of the #DCSDblogs challenge. The theme for week three is Oops! Please tell us about a mistake you made this week, how you handled it, and what happened in the end.

First off let me preface this with an apology, Oops, that this blog post was not done in a timely manner. Good thing I don’t blog for a living – my family would starve!

So, back to the topic at hand – Oops! When you are the building Teacher-Librarian you are sometimes on an island unto your own. We have amazing fellow TL’s that are only an email or phone call away, but sometimes not having immediate, or fairly immediate, access to that colleague (like most departments in a building do) can be hard. As a TL we were many, many hats. Sometimes trying to keep track of all of those various hats can become overwhelming and that is when mistakes happen.

Mistakes can be innocently made in not getting a work order put on the log in a timely fashion, or answering an email question from a colleague. It could also be being short tempered when you have 4 people needing your attention at the same exact moment. Maybe it could be that the Iowa HS & Teen Choice Award winners that are sitting on the card teasing you because you haven’t had time to get them in the system and ready for student check out. Those are innocent mistakes – we are all guilty at times of being too busy – simple mistakes happen.

When you are really the go to person in the building for technology it is sometimes overwhelming. Believe it or not I do have a lot of knowledge stored in my head, but sometimes I just don’t know and can fall into the trap of acting like I know what I am doing and really don’t and that can be a big mistake! What do I mean by this? Sometimes there is someone else in the building who might know the answer. Well, again lets go back to that being on an island – or that “go to” person “who knows everything” in your building and that island can get pretty lonely.

So how do we cure the loneliness of the island? How do we help cure our island blues?

  • Know your areas of expertise – what can you answer, who can you help get what they need etc.
  • Know when to send the person on to someone else who knows more about the topic.
  • Ask for clarification on the issue or idea.
  • Admit that you don’t know the answer – but that you are happy to find out and get back to them.

I try to practice all four of these actively. The one I struggle with the most is the fourth one. I really want to provide answers right away – that is my customer service to my staff and students. Sometimes, things don’t have to be answered within the first two minutes of the conversation. Most are satisfied with the “I will get back to you” answer – as long as getting back to them is a #1 priority. As a TL my primary job is helping staff and students to find the correct information. When I admit that I don’t know the answer, but am happy to do a bit of research and get back to them it takes out the whole problem of making mistakes.

Mistakes tend to happen when we are rushed and don’t ask for clarification – my goal is to be more mindful of things that are asked of me and continue to practice the four steps above. This in turn will help me welcome people to my island!


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