Thursday, October 17, 2019

Sharing Successful Activities with Colleagues

In Open the cookies in Seth Godin's Blogby Seth Godin shares,

 “We are happy to take a tiny slice off the thing that’s being shared, but we hesitate to open the bag.”

I know when I go to a potluck meal, I don’t want to be the first one to open something or take the first spoonful. I also don’t want to take the last piece or spoonful.

I tend to see teachers falling in this same trap. I believe teachers want to know what other teachers are doing to motivate their classes but are afraid to ask. Sharing activities could go a long way to go in keeping class lessons motivating and interesting.

If you are the first one to ask, others might see you as weak or needy. Administrators may see you as less competent as your peers. Students may think you don’t know what you are doing and lose confidence in you. By worrying too much about how others may perceive you, you withdraw from a wealth of knowledge and information that could be very valuable to your teaching.

I think administrators should find a way to encourage teachers to share the good things that they are doing.

One possible way would be to share one good thing you are doing at a faculty meeting in small groups. Teachers should count off by a certain number so that you can end up with groups of 4 – 5 people in each group (usually clusters of friends sit together at faculty meetings so this would be a great way to help them branch out and learn from someone outside their circle). Then ask them to take 10 minutes to share in their group one activity or lesson they did that week that was successful, and most of the students enjoyed it. Ask each person to enter the info they shared in a central Google document by the next day. This document can be available with the faculty to use as a resource.

At first, I’m sure administrators will get some push back from this but it should only take 15 minutes of the teachers time to do this (10 minutes of sharing and 5 minutes to enter it in a form). I hate for teachers to be treated like children but I’m sure that if they are not held accountable, many will not fill out the form. Teachers who don’t fill out the form should have to share their activity in front of the whole faculty at the next faculty meeting. I think this would encourage many to fill out the form as required.

I know that I can learn a lot from my colleagues. By looking at the different activities in different subject areas, I might find one that I would like to do with my class. I could even seek the teacher out for more information as well as suggestions for adapting it to my student’s needs.

How do you share with your colleagues? Please share! 

Photo by Manu Camargo on Unsplash

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