Posted by: Emily | December 3, 2009

And then we came to an end

I taught my last session yesterday, and was flooded by giddy relief when I was finished. I like teaching, and I love libraries, but it’s tiring to get up there day after day, teaching the same material in contexts that I suspect usually don’t work, don’t make sense, and are extraordinarily limited in potential impact. I had a better fall than I did last fall. I can tell because I have seen many more students after these sessions than I did this time last year. Students coming to my office, coming up the desk, remembering my name, asking for citation help, asking for reminders about how to get started. But even though it’s an exponential increase, it’s still only about ten students out of the several hundred I stood in front of and yammered at.

Is library instruction in this 50-minute add-on session worth the labor? Is there any way to know whether we’re reaching anyone? Is this why I need a more comprehensive way to approach assessment? Is anybody else feeling a post-term letdown?



  1. Yes on all counts. I’ve felt the same way at the end of my teaching each semester since I’ve been at my job, too. This semester I’ve got some ideas for changes to make next semester, so that makes me hopeful. But I’m still very much struggling with assessment, sigh.

  2. Hi,
    I teach at the same institution that Emily teaches.
    I ‘ve been asking myself the same questions about the library sessions. There was a huge relief after my last session because I feel I put so much into each session but I don’t really know how much the students really “get it.” I’ve also had more one-on-one sessions with students after each class, which makes me hopeful.

    As for assessment, I have not done much and I’m ambivalent about the methods I’ve seen used by other librarians. Many of them seem intrusive and time consuming but I realize that they are necessary.

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