Since I graduated from college, I explored a variety of careers. I spent almost six years as a flight attendant (and instructor), only to transition to my hardest job–an urban elementary school teacher. Looking back on that experience, I am grateful for it. It was the time when I learned the most about myself, although it wasn’t the prettiest time in my life. I did begin to understand one of the most valuable facets of my personality. I did not do well if I had a huge possibility of failing. Teaching thirty-five students who all hungered for individual attention was breaking my heart and working against my natural strengths.
Knowing what I do now, I realize that I could have done well if education were set up differently. If classroom size was inversely proportionate to level of student need, perhaps I would have stayed in the profession. We all know, however, that this isn’t the case, and I could not see myself lasting in this environment.
To get my educational kicks, I quickly transitioned to working in an urban library system. For many years, this was a perfect match for my skill set. I was able to work one-on-one with children and adults in the community, plus assist with staff training. Often, as I discuss my library background, I have to confront the stereotype of the introverted “shusher.” Yes, the “shusher” still exists, but with the development of the web, technology has changed, and librarians have with it. In fact, I am a controversial advocate of replacing the confusing title of “Librarian” with the real title that goes along with the lists of duties that urban librarians are asked to complete every day. I think, if we take that title away, we add value. But that is a different post altogether.