By Jim Perry
The title, to some, is a bit misleading. But do not fail to understand it.
“I will fight you to the death that school librarians are teachers,” said Rosa Blocker, librarian and media specialist at Cushing Upper Elementary School.
Blocker recently was chosen Teacher of the Year by Cushing Public Schools.
“Librarians surely are teachers,” Blocker said. “I am state certified.
“I teach these kids things every day.”
Among those lessons for second-, third- and fourth-graders at CUE are cyber safety and digital citizenship.
“I teach cyber safety to fourth-graders and teach them digital citizenship. You have to be safe in you’re on social media, which they are.”
“You have to be safe in you’re on social media, which they are.”
Blocker has been in education for about 30 years, 13 of those with Cushing Public Schools. She taught high school English at Union City and is certified to teach kindergarten through 12th grade.
Blocker grew up in Perry and got into “the world of libraries” when inspired to do so during her senior year by her high school librarian.
She worked at schools in Wetumka, Oklahoma City, Morrison and Union City and spent time at public and university libraries before taking a job in Cushing.
“The Cushing job came open and I wanted to be in the school system,” she said.
She commutes daily from near Morrison. Her husband Dennis drives daily to Ditch Witch in Perry.
Blocker spent a dozen years at Harmony Elementary School and is in her first year at CUE.
“This room was completely bare when I first came in here last summer,” she said. “No shelves. No books. Nothing.
“They said, ‘Make us a library.’
“We got shelves from Deep Rock and Harrison schools and found the best fit for the district.
“I feel tremendous satisfaction when I see this room today. But that’s not on me; this is everyone’s library.”
Among Blocker’s jobs is to reorganize the Cushing district catalog.
She attended Phillips University in Enid and Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. She has worked in libraries at both schools.
She recently was elected to a two-year term as state secretary for the Oklahoma School Librarians group.
She has embraced technology and the changes it has made for librarians.
“Technology has changed libraries tremendously. As a librarian, you have to be computer savvy. The kids have grown up with computers and I want to help teachers and kids stay up to par with educational applications.”
She said she knows of no Rosa Blocker System.
“I want to do what they need.
“How can I meet programs? How can I get the right book to the right kids?”
How can she find her own library?
“I read mystery and science fiction, mostly. Wendy Clouse and I have a thing for Dr. Who books.”
The Blockers have six children and eight grandchildren, all in the Cimarron Valley. Her only daughter has two children attending CUE.
“It’s special to see my grandchildren grow up and interact with me every day.
“My granddaughter — she’s in the fourth grade — comes in every morning and gives me a hug.
So is her desire to make things better.
“I am not even thinking about retiring,” Blocker said. “I want to be going until there’s no ‘go’ left.
“I am a workaholic.”
Blocker said she takes college courses ever summer.
“That’s what I do for me.”
She said she also enjoys sewing — “I’m a seamstress” — and playing with programs on a computer.
“That’s play time for me.”