To the Editor:
Contrary to Education Week’s recently published article that reported the benefits of hiring technology coaches in schools (“To Improve Teachers’ Use of Technology, Schools Try Hiring Coaches,” October 3, 2018), I believe that turning teachers into coaches is not the solution to a lack of technology-savvy teachers. These schools need to find their library media specialists, and let them do their jobs instead of placing them in unofficial positions that have nothing to do with their skill sets.
Maryland’s School Library Media State Curriculum states that the library media specialist “incorporates use of technology as presented in the Maryland Technology Literacy Standards for Students.” This means that the library media specialist will design programs to help teachers and students understand technology’s history, and how it can be used for: learning and collaboration; communicating information and expressing ideas; locating, evaluating, gathering, and organizing information and data; and developing strategies for problem-solving.
Both the 2010 Maryland’s School Library Media State Curriculum and Education Week’s more recent reporting have recognized the need for library media specialists with technology skills.
Library media specialists were in the school system, but what were they doing? I, for one, monitored students during lunch time, proctored standardized tests like PARCC, ordered textbooks for a school, and babysat students while their teachers attended lesson-planning meetings.
When the Instructional Director, teachers, and principals forgot that I existed, I had time to design programs that allowed students to start to flourish on their Chromebooks and personal-learning apps.
However, I could not also do what the National Education Association stated school librarians should be doing: “curating digital resources, providing meeting space for students working outside classroom walls, and helping teachers connect with their students.”
Lorette S.J. Weldon
Independent Library Media Specialist
College Park, Maryland
A version of this article appeared in the October 24, 2018 edition of Education Week as Let Media Specialists Do Their Job