Photo by bengrey on Flickr
“I will say I think teachers fall into two camps when it comes to sharing: 1) people who share everything; 2) people who refuse to share anything. I have been lucky enough to know a lot of teachers who share, and I have benefited enormously from their ideas. Through their generosity, they have made a better teacher.” – Dana Huff
I pulled this from a recent post on Dana’s blog because it accurately represents my experiences and views on the subject of sharing. I have experienced both types of teachers that she refers to. Although I cannot relate to the ones who do not share, I do respect their protectiveness. Educators pour incalculable time and energy into their lessons, projects, and management strategies. I understand the desire to keep to yourself, or make profit from your hard work.
Personally, I cannot imagine holding my ideas and materials from others, because I have benefitted so much from others sharing with me. I have only been in the classroom for a few years, and I do not think I would have survived without the help and support of other teachers. In the past five years I have been a sub, a student teacher, and a full time teacher. I have taught four different subjects in middle and high school. I have worked with teachers from every department in four different schools, in two different states. And I have found that the overwhelming majority of teachers are willing to share their wisdom, expertise, materials, and emotional support.
In most instances, sharing has become collaboration. Those who have shared with me want to know what other ideas I have to offer to them. We edit materials and email back and forth. We have informal meetings and invite others to join. This is both professionally productive and empowering for a new teacher. This is the type of professionalism that improves education, not the type of policies and PD that we often do see.
If you do not share – reflect on whether or not you have been supported by other teachers, especially when you were first starting out.
If you do share – even if just online and you’re not sure who is even reading – keep sharing! We are reading and learning from you.
If you benefit from other educators – thank them. And then, thank them again! Make sure they know that they are appreciated by their colleagues.
So, to Dana Huff and all of the other educators online and in my schools that share regularly, thank you for your generosity and for teaching me how to share. Thank you for making me a better teacher.