Magnificent Nose: Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed by Magnificent Nose. Could you start out by telling people the sort of teaching work you do, and why you do it?
Julie: I’m a high school librarian. I’m also involved in technology, curriculum, and staff development for teachers. I used to be a high school English teacher. I love talking to kids about books, writing, and information, but after I had my children, I knew I couldn’t be the mother I wanted to be while still grading hundreds of papers per month. Most people don’t realize that English teachers work all evening and most of the weekend, and even bring papers to grade on their vacations. Being a school librarian kept me in contact with adolescents, an age group I love, but freed me from those additional after-hours responsibilities. The part of the job I most enjoy is one that most people don’t even know about: the kids who seek shelter in the library, the ones who don’t feel they fit in elsewhere and are looking for a quiet place they can come and be themselves. I do a lot of informal counseling with these students, as well as providing academic support.
What you did over this past summer?
Attended (and officiated at!) a family wedding, went to Cape Cod, wrote a little (far less than I hoped to), and read and read and read and read.
What are you looking forward to most this school year? Will you have any specific projects or new programs to work on?
I’m really not looking forward to this school year at all. I feel that my role is shrinking and that I’ve long outgrown this job. Having completed my credentials for school administration several years ago, I had hoped to be in administration by now. It’s looking less and less likely. I did volunteer for the Intervention & Referral Services Team, so I’ll be working with a group of adults that reaches out to kids who seem to be struggling academically, socially, or emotionally. The changes coming to New Jersey schools this year because of the AchieveNJ program are going to make this a rough, overwhelming year for many New Jersey teachers.
How do you prepare for the transition from summer to the school year?
I ignore it. One of the funny tricks time is always playing on me is the one where it flashes instantly from late June to early September. I don’t pretend to understand how that works.