Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sharing

Believe it or not, sharing is not just a lesson for the students. Sharing is a major part of being a good teacher. Sharing is something that teachers at struggling schools do. We're encouraged to share by the administration and department chairs. In struggling schools, there is also usually a large population of new or young teachers who rely on this sharing in order to succeed.

What do we share? Everything. We literally share everything. Lesson plans, worksheets, Power Points, notes, sub work, units, rubrics, syllabuses, books and so much more. My coworker across the hall has even shared two giant filing cabinets with me! When I make a worksheet I really like, after printing and making copies for myself, I email it to my coworkers to use and modify as they need. I don't really care if I get anything in return, but I often do.

Sharing is how we can succeed. We all have different strengths. By working together, we create better, more successful resources and lessons for our students. When you're a teacher, it's very easy to isolate yourself. You're an army of one in your room. If you stay in there and never venture out, you could miss out on the opportunity to share with your coworkers!

Not all schools have a sharing staff. In some schools, there's a competitive vibe amongst the staff that prevents them from sharing. Rather than working together, they hide their successes from one another. This is a horrible environment for a new teacher. The first 2-3 years of a teacher's life can be consumed by making materials. When your faculty shares, the first years of a teacher's career are much better for everyone involved, including the students.

We always tell our students to share and work together. Perhaps this is something that should be reinforced at a nation-wide level for our educators. Maybe, instead of having schools and states compete through scores, we could work together to help our children. If a dozen teachers working together in my department creates amazing work, what could an entire nation working together do? I often tell my students that in my classroom, there is no "us" and "them". It should be the same way for the whole of education. There should be no "us" and "them". There should only be the amazing "us" and what we can do together. When was the last time you saw Superman sharing?

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