Why Don't Teachers Share More?
I mean we all want to see all students succeed.
Kate Friedwald | Dec 2018
We are not a competitive industry, well if we are we shouldn’t be. I know it might not always be that black and white with private and special character schools in the mix, funding to vie for, staffing levels to maintain etc but when it comes down to it we are all trying to achieve the same thing. We are all in the business of educating the next generation, we are all trying to support our students to achieve the very best they can. If one teacher, one class, one school is ‘better’ than another then great the students involved are benefiting but in reality I know we all want the best for all students across the school, city, country and world no matter who the teacher is in front of them (or next to them). If we didn’t then we probably wouldn’t last long in the industry.
So then why is it that teachers often struggle to share? Lesson ideas, resource suggestions, plans, successes, failures etc. Is it because we are in fact a little competitive and don’t want to give away what makes us a great teacher, give away what keeps us in the job? I don’t think so.
Don’t get me wrong as an industry as a whole I believe we are pretty good at sharing but I am often faced with teachers I am working with (as a facilitator) who haven’t heard the great things going on in the class next door to them or the one down the hall. They don’t know about a great resource their colleague is having success with, and are spending time recreating the wheel. Time they would admit they could easily spend with their own family and attempting to achieve that illustrious work/life balance. So why aren’t these teachers actively sharing?
I recently asked my facebook group (Resource Community for Educators) just this and the response was as I thought. Teachers (I am generalising here) are overwhelming self critical. They don’t feel what they are doing is anything special and they don’t think anyone would be interested in what they are using with their students. Maybe it’s a product of 1 teacher 1 class and can be alleviated with a more team approach or through collaborative teaching where teaches have the benefit of sharing as they teach not in the staffroom after.
You might be thinking but hold on I share stuff, I gave Miss F a copy of that reading activity just last week when she asked. I am however, talking about actively speaking out, “hey guys I used this site today and got these results”. Are we too busy, for sure. Would sharing more ultimately save us time thou, for sure.
I was a culprit of undersharing when I was in the classroom. At first It was because I was a BT and what did I know? Everyone else had seen and done what I was doing hadn’t they. Then it was because I didn’t think my colleagues were interested as they did things their own way. Then back in 2014 I was approached and asked to present at uLearn. What, I thought? I’m not doing anything mind blowing, who would want to hear from me? Long story short I did it and the feedback was amazing. It was the little things people valued from it. The things I shared that saved them time. Following on from that I was videoed for a series on TKI Enabling eLearning and asked to speak at Future Schools in Australia. From that has come many teachers interested in the how and why which has made me realise that to someone out there whether they are in the class next door, the school down the road, or the other end of the country what I have to offer is valuable. I must have been something special you think, no no just an average joe teacher trying their best for my students using tools and resources I thought might help.
Now, as a facilitator I am lucky in that I get to see many different teachers and the awesome work they are doing. It has become my mission through ShareWithUs to get teachers sharing more, to share with teachers the resources I find (VIP Membership is now open) and to encourage others to stand up and say “hey I did this and it was cool”. Don’t be afraid of what others may think, if it worked for you and your students chances are it will work for someone else.
I don’t care if you are a student teacher, a beginning teacher, a reliever or an experienced teacher. I don’t care if you are an expert in an area or just dabbling for the first time. There are others out there who would love to hear what works for you. You would be saving them time. You would be helping their students as well as yours. So, I challenge you like I’ve just challenged my Facebook group to share one thing before the school year is out, hopefully you take me up on it! Join us here – oh and don’t forget to share something! Anything!
Yours in sharing,