I have worked in schools were educators keep their good “stuff” like lessons and strategies all to themselves because they don’t want anyone else using their “stuff.” They hoard all this like Midas and hope it will grow more success in their classrooms. Unfortunately I see these people get burned out or dissatisfied in the careers. I loved working in schools where I could go to the copy room and find other teachers willing to share their ideas. I was always peeking at what they were copying (they probably thought I was the “copyright police”) and then asking them how they planned to use it in the classroom. There was one science teacher (those of you who know Stephanie Taylor, she is an awesome teacher!) who taught advanced science and she was always willing to share her ideas with me. As we talked, she would help me think of ways to adapt the lesson to my special education students. You could tell she loved her subject and with all her knowledge about her subject area, it would have been a shame if she didn’t share it. My best science lessons were some of the ones I got from her. Unfortunately for our students (and me), she left our school when her husband’s job required them to move to France.
As I learn new things from my professional learning network, I want to share them with all my friends. I am a member of Plurk and Twitter, so I now have so many online friends willing to share their knowledge with me. This knowledge has opened up so many doors for me that it is hard for me to understand why other educators fear this so much. Yet sometimes I know I probably overwhelm my non-techie educator friends with all that I share. In my excitement, I tend to forget that everyone isn’t as excited about the same things as I am. I have decided to make a wiki (Create, Connect, Collaborate) with the things that excite me and then share the link to the wiki. As people are ready to look at some of the things that I like and recommend, it will all be in one place. Then they can also share their opinions and reflections there for others to see.
I think sharing is an important part of having a successful teaching career. We need to openly share our successful strategies and stories as well as openly receive these ideas. Sharing is a two way street and so we need to look at ways that we can do both. Those teachers who not technology savvy can find other ways to share their knowledge. It seems like with the wealth of information that educators have collectively, it would be amazing the things that we can do for students together.
Original image: 'Sharing' http://www.flickr.com/photos/33128961@N00/142455033by: Ryan Roberts