Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Do You Share? (28/31)



Reading through my Twitter feed, I came upon this Tweet from Dr. Justin Tarte. If you don't follow him, you should. He's a  Pretty Smart Guy.

Anyway, last night he asked if you would share all  your lesson plans from your entire career with a brand new teacher for free.

I answered absolutely,

Here's why:

I didn't teach right out of college. I had a different career for a few years. Stayed home with our boys for a few years.  I subbed for awhile and was a paraprofessional for several years.  When I finally took the 7th grade English position in our district, I was thrilled.  I met with the head of the department and asked what I should be teaching. I expected a syllabus, at the very least.

"Whatever you want," was the response.  I was shocked. Scared. Nervous. Confused.  What was I supposed to do?

I made it up as I went along.

But after that, all along the way, I worked with fabulous teachers who shared. "Why reinvent the wheel?" they'd say.

In junior high, there was the Tech God, who did such fun, inventive assignments with his TAG kids.  He never hesitated to share what he was doing with me.  He'd share the technology, he'd share his plans, he'd share the "worksheets" that went along with it. He created units the whole grade would work on.  And he never expected anything in return.

Fast forward a few years. I moved up to the high school. I was assigned Speech, Drama, and English 9. Speech and Drama I had to create from scratch. No one had been teaching them. It was stressful coming up with plans each week.  But luckily, Roomie was willing to share everything she did in English 9. And I do mean everything.  "Take what you want to copy," she said.

And copy I did.

I changed things up as I went along. Changed things up a bit to reflect me a bit more. But it sure was nice to have a place to start!

And so, I pay it forward. I am always willing to share what I have. Not because I think I'm such a fantastic teacher. Not because I believe everyone should do things my way. I share because everyone needs a place to start from. It's hard enough to be a new teacher, in a new job, in a new building without having to reinvent the wheel!

12 comments:

  1. I agree with 100%! So many wonderful teachers have shared with me along the way. I gladly share whenever someone asks, and if I find something that works, I print it up and give it to others I think might like it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We all do a better job when we collaborate! It's much easier to tweak a plan than start from scratch. I try to share as much as possible, and thanks for the reminder, Deb!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am with you. I am always surprised when teachers hold their plans so tightly.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your last paragraph sums it all up perfectly! I feel the exact same way -- here's a start and guess what? If you find a better way or improve the lesson, please share in return! It's for the kids anyways! We are here to help and learn and guide them. This is not a competition. It's about paying it forward. I like that.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think this is true not only with teachers but with other professions too. I have always created a "book of how to's" in whatever job I'm doing. It not only helps me to put it in writing, but will help make the job easier for someone else. I agree with Michelle - it's for the kids - why not share and build on what already in place.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I would certainly share. Truth be known, most of my ideas and lessons aren't really mine at all. I have taken so much from the work of other talented, thoughtful teachers. Where would I be if they had not shared with me??? Thank you for teachers who enjoy having professional conversations and to those take the time to write about what they know.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post! I agree wholeheartedly! I've had to create several programs from scratch, but I've been lucky to have had several colleagues who have shared their materials and ideas to help out along the way. Besides, everyone gains something from collaboration, on both ends!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Did your response surprise Dr. Tarte? I have worked with a person who did everything secretively. When I asked what she did for some lessons, she was very vague. That was annoying, we were supposed to do the same job with different classroom teachers. I did not work that way. I loved to collaborate. I think she was insecure. I give teachers my lesson every time I model in their class, that way they can go back and revisit the language I used.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love to share, but when people don't offer back it gets a little less fun to share again. I have a new teaching partner, I share everything. Supplies, ideas, books, plans. I do everything I wish had been done for me.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Like you, I think it is so important to share. I especially like when someone takes something and makes it better then passes it back. I am not really sure I have any ideas that didn't come from someone somewhere getting me started.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I agree wholeheartedly Deb, & hurrah for you for bringing up the topic. There are those who are very protective of their work, however, & won't share. As teaching colleagues, I can't imagine not offering (as you did) all that I have or know. At our school, we do have a sharing place, so uploading some files is helpful and used. I'm happy to hear what you said!

    ReplyDelete