Thursday, April 21, 2016

Day in the Life Project

"What does an average day look like for a school librarian at New Canaan High School?" It was a question we asked ourselves in mid-January this year, so we conducted an experiment. On the first day of second semester, we took a photo every period of the school day, plus another one after school. It seemed like an efficient strategy to document activity. We found the results interesting, so we pledged to continue for a full week. we soon set alarms as reminders to capture photos.

We created a ComicLife! template to curate the photos, and posted my daily logs to Tumblr. As the first week wound to a close, we decided to stretch the experiment over a month, then we extended it until the end of the quarter - a total of 44 school days.  

Eight periods per day over 44 days makes for a lot of data points. In order to find meaning in what we was documenting, we classified my activity into five categories:
  • Co-teaching: Planning, teaching, assessing, and reflecting
  • Makerspace management: Organizing and teaching innovation
  • Library administration: Collecting, organizing, preserving resources, plus meetings
  • Helping students: One-on-one conferencing and support for learners
  • Documenting & communication: Teacher evaluation, newsletters, and social media
  • Reader's advisory: Helping the learning community select independent reading materials

The end result follows. we spent nearly 40% of my time co-teaching. Another 12% was spent assisting students individually, and reader's advisory accounted for 6% (we hope to raise this number in the future!). Altogether, 57% of my time was spent on instruction, if you include reader's advisory.  Twenty-four percent was spent on library administration and teacher evaluation, excluding makerspace management. The makerspace took up 18% of my time.

Documenting all this without compromising the outcome was probably the biggest challenge. While the photos were taken in real time, the documentation was compiled "off the clock".