After a wonderful evening at the home of Dave Winter and his lovely wife Jude O'neal, it was time to go the SLAZNA Workshop. I wanted to get a picture of Jude but she was still in her pajamas and did not feel she was camera ready so she took this picture of Dave and me before the drive to Hamilton Boys' Hight School where the conference was being held.
Upon arriving to the conference, I was greeted by Gerri Judkins at the registration table. Gerri is just one of those people that makes everyone feel so cared for and welcome. It was nice to see Gerri again. I was a bit worn out from my whirlwind tour of the schools by the time I got to SLANZA so Gerri may have thought I did not remember her from the last conference but of course I did! The awesome thing is that there were many people that I knew from my last SLANZA conference!!! I love this bunch!!
The Waikato/Bay of Plenty SLANZA workshop is entitled: “The librarian as Mentor”--this is a topic that is talked about infrequently but we know it’s happening all the time. The librarian is uniquely positioned to identify and observe students who may be in need of some sort of support (typically emotional but needs run the gamut). Guidance Counselor Betty Diprose gave some great tips on how to connect with and respond to students in situations that require careful attention.
One tip she gave was to “look for exceptions” if/when a student is giving an account of a problematic situation. This means that when you hear something pleasant or positive weaved into the generally troublesome storyline, you take the time to focus on that element and perhaps probe it a bit further. This may seem like “just a distraction” but in reality, it enables the student to focus on this protective feature/strength and build on a new conversation. From this micro focus on the positive, the student may begin to build a new narrative that focuses on other positive aspects of their life, which then builds coping skills and moves the conversation out of the dark/negative/problematic place and allows for new possibilities. There were other great tips and ideas. A popular favorite was “Talk to Ted”--If someone comes in really upset, they can hold the giant plush “Ted” and confide in him while the librarian or teacher or counselor leaves the room. A great time was had by all in this timely and informative session. As usual, all of the librarians generously shared their experiences and insights!
Dave stayed to take some pictures (at my request as he really needed to get home to get ready for educamp)! From L->R Glenys Bichan, Cambridge HS Library Manager, Cathy Baine, Hamilton East Library Manager, Hamilton East Library staff (sorry I cannot remember your name), me, and Jan Mathews, Melville HS Library Manager
A few other event photos
Sue is a teacher and school librarian living in Atlanta, GA, USA. She was in NZ as a Fulbright Distinguished Teacher from Feb-June 2016.