Tomorrow brings a BIG due date for our Frosh. Our Frosh spend a substantial part of the quarter working on a term paper for their history class. Our wonderful team of Frosh history teachers walk their charges through the term paper research and writing process from start to finish–checking their research and guiding them into the world of the academic term paper. We in the library, are truly grateful to our history team for allowing us in on their action and for allowing us to have some say in the shaping of the Frosh experience. Now, let me just say, that the vast majority of our students have worked diligently toward tomorrow’s big due date, but (and every school librarian out there knows that a “but” was coming) there are always those last few lovely kiddos who seek you out at 7:31am on the day that the project is due …
Therefore I am, tonight, preparing myself for the onslaught!
Things I am prepared to say:
“Um, no, we don’t have a ‘primary source shelf,’ sorry …”
“Um, yes, I could just give you the sources that have primary sources on that topic, but I’m going to CHOOSE not to …”
“First, please stop yelling at me. Now, when did you get this assignment? Three weeks ago? Well, see, YOUR failure to plan enough time to complete your assignment doesn’t make it MY emergency, but if you wait until I’m done helping this young man/woman I’ll help you as soon as I can …”
“Well see, SHOWING you how to find the sources yourself IS helping you. It might not be the kind of help you WANT, but locating sources and handing them to you is doing it for you which I don’t do because I’ve done the 9th grade and your teacher has done the 9th grade. The only person in this process who hasn’t done the 9th grade is you so now, YOU have do the 9th grade …”
“Um, please don’t yell at me. I know you are stressed, but you need to take a step back, breath, think about how you are going to apologize to me, then we’ll start over so we can work on your project without the ATTITUDE or the DRAMA. I don’t do drama …”
Thankfully, I prepare myself to say these things, but I really rarely have to actually say them. Over the years though, it happens …
The upside is that sometimes you hear the FUNNIEST things you’ll ever hear in a library. My favorite from last year was:
Student: “How do I find primary sources about Roman marriage?”
Librarian: “Sweetheart, you’ve had this assignment for three weeks, why did you leave it until the last minute?”
Student (without any hint of A-ttitude or malice): “It’s not the last minute, it’s not due for 30 minutes …”
Ah … The blissful ignorance of youth … LOL!!!
In spite of all of the incessant grousing and complaining in this space, I REALLY DO love my job!!! I’ve got one of the BEST jobs in the world!!!
Update: Well … I think I have misjudged the wonderful young people of our Frosh class! No panic. No drama. Maybe they all finished ahead of time?!?!? Geez! As a 14-year old I never started a project until the day before it was due (or sometimes the morning it was due). These kids are so much better students than I ever was!!!