Imagine that you read book reviews one day. You choose what books to buy for a library based on the book reviews the next day. You make videos and mentor a student teacher the next week. You lead peer leaders, manage textbooks, manage a budget, and fundraise that month. Only the unique position of media specialist at Hull Middle School requires expertise in such a wide range of tasks. Meet Carol Bates, the media specialist and librarian whose job title doesn’t always define everything she does.
When she was younger, “librarian” or “media specialist” wasn’t an enticing career to her because back then, their only task was to punch cards. However, she waited tables for a dozen years only to realize that there were no long-term benefits or any kind of retirement plan, and with a child to care for, being a waitress was simply lacking a future. Thus, she went back to school, got a degree in Spanish, and became a media specialist partly because that was her younger sister’s occupation. As she is describing her current life teaching and managing the library, I can tell that she is genuinely passionate about her work and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. What makes Bates’ role unique is having a different job everyday-she never gets bored! She loves working with middle schoolers because they’re a perfect fit for her self-professed “snarky” comments. She is also amazed to see the youthful sixth graders develop into confident, mature eighth graders, prepared to enter high school.
Speaking of eighth graders, I had the chance to meet two of Bates’ peer leaders, Nabeel and Angel. They enthusiastically praised Bates’ quirky vibe and her sprinkled knowledge about seemingly everything. As peer leaders for the media center, they help shelve, check in, and check out books, among other miscellaneous tasks. Angel and Nabeel emphasize how they’ve gained incredible organization, leadership, and communication skills from helping Bates at the media center; Nabeel finds himself using better social skills working with Mrs. Bates, while Angel appreciates how organized she has become as a whole. They both love the new people they meet and being part of the community when interacting with individuals every day. Angel and Nabeel’s positive attitudes undeniably reflect Bates’ hopes, as she says, “I want students to learn that they can enjoy their jobs, and have a good time while they’re doing it.”
Pictured (left to right): Nabeel, Carol Bates, and Angel
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