Communicating with someone who speaks a different language can be difficult and frustrating for both parties. Talking slower and louder doesn’t make the other person understand either! It requires a concerted effort to learn some common vocabulary when trying to communicate.
Librarians and principals often speak different languages, even though both are educators. Librarians must make an effort to learn to speak “principal” in order to communicate effectively about the library program.
This afternoon’s TLA webinar, “Are We Speaking the Same Language?,” addressed this issue. Joel Castro, webinar presenter and principal at East Early College High School in Houston ISD gave some tips for speaking the principal’s language:
1. Say “student achievement” a lot – talk about what you are doing to help students learn.
2. Learn about school accountability – feel the heat that your principal deals with on a daily basis.
3. Be seen working with core content area teachers. Talk to your principal about what you are doing with them.
4. Copy the principal on all memos that go out to the teachers from the library.
5. Provide the principal with data showing how much better your library is than other libraries!
–Evidence that students are excited about coming to the library
–Number of classes taught
–Usage stats on databases
–Evidence of improvement from year to year
–Comparative data from other schools
–Evidence of planning meetings with content area teachers
–Evidence of contributions made to the school outside of the library program (chaperoning field trips, author visits, serving on committees, club sponsorship, etc.)
6. Model the use of 21st century tools and teach students and teachers how to use them as well.
If you’ve had trouble connecting with your principal in the past, Joel’s advice is to START OVER. Begin by asking the principal what he/she would like to see in the library program. He says, “The creative librarian will weave best practices into the principal’s wishes for the program to create a new, positive direction.”
Take his advice, learn some common vocabulary and start speaking “principal”!
Image: “Celebrating the Principals Birthday with Flip Flops.”