Frustrations and Successes

I doubt anyone reads my blog regularly as there’s not much traffic, so it’s not likely anyone will notice that my post is a day late this week. I worked a weird schedule this week, so I wasn’t here last night and worked Wednesday night instead. Wednesday night we were exceptionally busy. We had several students working on the same assignment, a substantial research paper for one of our upper level English classes. We’ve also had quite a few students doing the last minute scramble to find sources. I had a student come in this week looking for a book on a somewhat obscure Civil War soldier, and she couldn’t grasp why we didn’t just have one book only about him. I did my best to show her how to browse our Civil War collection and use book indexes, but she was in a rush and in no mood to be taught how to do something. This was a frustrating experience for me because I was doing everything I could to teach her instead of just passively giving her what she needed, but she wasn’t open to the experience.

Yesterday morning I taught another class at a local high school, and this time there were 27 students. 27 high school students are a bit overwhelming!! They were loud and rowdy and tough to settle down. Their instructor wanted me to cover plagiarism and APA style in depth. When I started my instruction (after my standard Plagiarism “Ice Ice Baby” vs. “Under Pressure” video clips), I could tell that a lot of them were zoning out. Fortunately, they’d already been assigned the VAIL Tutor so I knew I could get through the plagiarism portion and then maybe grab their attention with content that was both new and more relevant. They also already knew their assignment (a research paper on an issue in the prison system), so I could tailor everything to that. I took some extra time after going over APA to show them how easy it is to find articles in our databases, emphasizing that it can actually be faster than Google and the benefit of the citation generator built into the database. By the time I was done they asked questions and all wanted my email address to ask more questions in the future. I started out very apprehensive, but finished feeling relatively successful. On my way in to teach I ran into the instructor I taught for 2 weeks ago and she told me she’s already seen improvement in their work, so it was a good experience all around.

The rest of last week and this week I’ve been essentially chained to my desk (when I’m not working Reference) to work on migrating our site. I’m almost done with the main part of the site (one pesky Web 2.0 Tools page left!), but then I still have to migrate about half of our research guides. I also have to walk my boss through making guides so she can do the English guides. I’ve got 4 days next week to work, so I’m hoping I can get it all done, but we do have a week in January before students come back so I should be able to finish by then. If I’m not able to post again next week I wish anyone who stumbles upon this post a happy holiday season!

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