Yesterday I went back to work where the day was pretty much normal, except for once or twice when I talked for too long of a stretch at a time and then started having a coughing fit.  At which point I had to run into the office to drink some Vitamin Water and take a lozenge.  [Note to library patrons – I’m sorry that my 30-second answer to your question was insufficient.  But does rehashing the same question over and over again until I’ve stretched that 30 seconds of talking into 5 minutes of talking really help ANYONE, in the long run?]

Today was a much busier day.  First, I spent the morning doing opening procedures at the branch while regaling my colleagues with some of those “annoying patron” stories from the day before.

Then I went to my local middle school where I’d scheduled visits with several 7th grade classes.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the teacher of my 11:00 class said that I shouldn’t come because they were giving a test that period.  Well, maybe I won’t say “surprise” as much as “dismay and disappointment.”  Unfortunately, in the many years that I’ve been visiting classes in schools, this kind of thing happens a lot.  For whatever reason — last-minute schedule change, administrative decision, or bad behavior on the part of the students — I’ve been told multiple times that I’m not going to see the class that I scheduled time away from my library to visit.  Part of the problem was that I’d already met several kids from this particular class at my library, and I’d promised them that I was going to see them this week to talk to them about books and help them get their fines cleared.

After a few minutes of tense negotiation between the school librarian, the assistant principal, and the teacher, I was allowed to speak to the class for 15 minutes instead of my usual 45.  Which means that I only got to fulfill half of my promise; I got to talk to them about the fine-clearing program, but had no time to talk about my suitcase full of books.  *SIGH*

Oh, and as an aside, it seems that the test the students were taking today (and which their substitute teacher only learned about this morning, for reasons that defy logic), was the newly-instituted “measure of student learning” test.  The way my boyfriend explained it to me is that this is a pre-test that will be compared to a second test that will be given at the end of the year, and that a big piece of the teacher evaluation will ride on the improvement between these two scores.  So … isn’t it in the teachers’ best interest to have students do as badly as possible on this first test, so that they’ll show remarkable signs of improvement the second time around?  Just wondering.  Anyway, I guess I don’t feel so bad that the students had less time to take the test today.  Perhaps it’s part of a larger plan, or the greater good.

Anyway, after my shortened session I had some time to kill, which I spent in the school library trying to be inconspicuous (even though some of the kids recognized me).  Then I went to speak to my second class, which started off a little loud and rowdy but I soon discovered was full of constructive energy rather than destructive energy.  They were attentive and enthusiastic enough that I had time to talk about 8 out of the 10 books I brought with me, and after they swarmed over my books and my handouts at the end of the class, I was filled with a very warm feeling that I had actually done some good and inspired an enthusiasm for reading.  Then I left the classroom and rejoined the school librarian, who asked me how the presentation had gone, and I told her that they were my favorite class I’d visited.  She said, “Really?  That’s our WORST class!” which I guess is why it’s sometimes better that I don’t go in with high or low expectations and just try to evaluate each class for what it is at that moment.

Anyway, then it was time for lunch, then desk time, then a teen program where I had to raise my (barely-repaired) voice a few too many times because the kids were getting a little boisterous.  I dunno … does trying to get your friends in a headlock count as “boisterous”?  So the program ran long and I got out late, but then I came home and my boyfriend and I went out to dinner.  Where I regaled him with wacky stories about my day.

Tomorrow should be a pretty normal day, with just one program in the afternoon.  Then starting next week … more class visits!  Where I can inspire audiences with my booktalks!  Be a celebrity!  And get some frigging job satisfaction!