Saturday, July 13, 2013

It's Not a Competition:Teachers and Sharing!

I think we all know them. We see a wonderful lesson or project our colleague has implemented with their students, and we excitedly ask for the details. We are eager to use it in our own classroom, alas, the details are never forthcoming.

 I know that I have been guilty of being that teacher. The one who doesn't share.

Why the competition? Why do we feel we aren't allowed to use someone else's idea in our classrooms? Why are we afraid to let someone else use our ideas?

Since joining Twitter, I have become better at sharing ideas, probably because my PLN shares selflessly with me. When I laughingly say I am "stealing" ideas, I am scolded, (playfully), because we are not "stealing". Stealing implies taking something that does not belong to you, whereas, these ideas belong to all of us.

There was a time, long ago, when I did not share. During the "isolated teacher" period in education, we entered our classrooms, closed the door, and did our thing. We never, ever, told  the other teachers what we were doing. I believe there was a  fear that our "idea" might be improved on, or worse yet, someone else would get the credit. (Although I do believe you should give credit where credit is due). I am sure this mentality still exists somewhere, and that's sad.

Times have changed and now I am passionate about sharing. Recently, a colleague asked me about Mystery Skype. I gladly gave her all the information I could, and she took off! She shared it with her colleague, who also began to Mystery Skype. The beneficiary? All of our students.The pen pal collaboration I have with the university was an idea I got from a teacher in another district. I contacted the teacher, and she shared how she set it up. I can't imagine ending the year(or starting this one) without Damult Dice, an idea shared on Twitter.

I've found that collaborating with my peers has made me a better educator. There are many lessons I have taught, and many projects that I have been a part of, because of them. It could not have happened without the help of teachers willing to share. How many times have I said to my colleagues, "I got this idea from a teacher on ______________________." (fill in the blank). Think of all the opportunities lost if teachers kept ideas to themselves!

By the middle of the school year, my students would ask, "Did you get this idea from one of your tweecher friends?" Yes, I let my students know that there is an entire community out there sharing thoughts, ideas, and discussions, about teaching, about educating them. And they loved when I posted something they did on Twitter so that my tweecher friends could see it!

There are so may opportunities to share and learn from each other. Beginning with the PLC in your school, to online sites such as, Twitter,  Edmodo, blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, so many ideas, shared freely! Take advantage, and bring these ideas and strategies into your classroom!

I know a lot of us suffer from that competitive streak. We love being recognized for something we did, something that no one else has done. It feels good. But you know what feels even better? Sharing an idea(s), that tons of educators can implement in their classrooms, and make learning better for their students. It's not a competition. When we share, we all win!

 photo credit: pfala via photopin cc


  1. Some teachers may not share because they fear coming across as 'better than' even when that isn't their intention. They just love what they do; so enthusiastic and passionate.

    Other teachers react by turning on the 'heat' because that go-getter makes all them either work harder and/or look bad by comparison.

    So it's really a two-way street. There are so many teachers who would LOVE to share but are sensitive (perhaps overly so) to the harsh reality that not every teacher has that same level of passion, dedication and enthusiasm.

  2. Sometimes when I share, some teachers will say, "Well, that's nice but I don't teach that way." or I'll hear, "That sounds cool, can you give me all the materials, supplies, etc... to make it happen?" I don't share now unless I know someone is interested. I am happy to help, but don't appreciate "Debbie Downers," or leeches who let everyone else do the work so they look good and go home early. Sharing is a two way street, and I love it when I work with educators that are passionate, receptive, and never threatened by new ideas. That is why I love working with my current peers. So fortunate to be with people who want to collaborate...... alas, it hasn't always been that way.