Jeanne Harris

Title:

James Simons Elementary School Library Media Specialist

Employer:

Charleston County School District

Degree:

MSLS

Graduation year:

2016
"SILS was a home for people with serving hearts, and it was a pleasure to be a part of that kind of community."

What was your educational and professional background before coming to SILS?

Before coming to SILS my only background was in English Literature, my bachelor's degree. I had never had a job of any kind, but I was anxious to start working. I knew I wanted to work in public schools because it was the place that I felt I could help people the most; however, I knew that being a classroom teacher would not suite me. After a lot of research I knew that a school library would be the perfect place for me to work.

How has your career progressed since you graduated SILS?

I am still in awe of how much my career has progressed in this short amount of time, not even a full year. I graduated at the beginning of May and by the end of the month I had a job offered to me on the spot after a great interview (thanks to the SILS career services) at a good school in the city where I wanted to live, Charleston. I am not yet close to being everything I want to be as a school librarian, but I have already made great strides closer to that goal. I have kids that enjoy reading and trust me to advise them on a great book, and I have colleagues that trust me as a professional and are interested in partnering with me on lessons. Even though I am not yet the librarian I want to be, the important thing is that I am aware of where I need to improve, and that in and of itself is an important progression in my career.

In your current employment, what are your job duties and responsibilities?

I work at a Title I public montessori school that serves three-year-olds through eighth graders. My day-to-day responsibilities are to teach lessons on a fixed schedule to the four-year-olds through sixth grade students (16 classes total), run a guided reading group every morning with the school's best readers, and of course I also shelve and repair books as needed.

Week-to-week I am expected to teach a creative writing elective class to our middle school students, work on the school website as one of two website administrators, attend a PLC meeting with the other special area teachers, and tutor some of our older students in math.

Over the course of the year I have reorganized the school's collection so that it would be more accessible to our students, I added a special collection just for our middle school students, I ran a Scholastic book fair to raise money for new books, and I wrote a long range plan for the library that will serve as a guide for this year and the years to come.

What were some of your best experiences at SILS?

My best experience at SILS was my internship in a nearby elementary school. Because of SILS, the triangle area is filled with some truly wonderful school librarians. It was an amazing opportunity to work under one of those librarians for a semester because being able to actually apply the theories I learned in the classroom was essential to my understanding of the career as a whole.

The other experiences I loved were being in classrooms filled with people who want to be BETTER. And not better for themselves, but better for the populations they will be serving. SILS was a home for people with serving hearts, and it was a pleasure to be a part of that kind of community.

What inspires or motivates you?

My students! These kids need me and trust me to be there for them everyday, and that's all I need to inspire me to show up every morning being the best adult role model I can be. There is nothing better than when one of my known "tough guy" students comes up the stairs and immediately walks over and gives me a hug in front of all his friends, and then half of those friends come up and give me a hug too. Just because they needed it. Those are the moments I work for!

Is there any other information you would like to share, or any advice you would like to offer current or future SILS students?

This place is worth whatever sacrifices you might need to make in order to get here. Whether it be the cost (this was the difficult part for me as an out-of-state student), or making a move to another state, or leaving your job. Whatever it may be, I truly believe that SILS is worth the sacrifice.