Teachers are strapped for time. You know that already.
It seems like every term some new task is added to our plates. We are constantly being asked to do more administration, more data entry, more reporting, more justification of our practice.
If you are anything like me, you find yourself with less and less time to plan for your lessons. You know, the thing we are actually employed to do. The thing we actually got into this profession for. Teaching.
We all want the time to be able to plan brilliant, engaging, differentiated lessons for our students. We KNOW the importance of doing such things. We KNOW how we’re supposed to go about it. Yet we seem to dedicate less time and energy to it.
We should be helping each other out right? Giving each other ideas and resources?
Something that I have noticed at the schools I have worked at annoys me a little. Perhaps a little more than a little.
We are all planning lessons, sometimes the exact same lessons, and yet many are choosing to not share their planning with their colleagues. To not share their resources and/or ideas. Some are even exceedingly secretive with their resources and lessons.
This confuses me greatly – what’s the point in being secretive about a lesson? You are presenting it to an entire class, after all. It’s not like no one ever sees it. So why not share it with your colleagues?
Being a new teacher in Australia, then here in the UK, I have found myself creating the vast majority lessons completely from scratch. As a new teacher, this takes me an incredible amount of time and causes a great amount of stress – I am working with unfamiliar systems, trying to create great lessons, often with nothing more than a lesson objective to guide me.
Don’t get me wrong – I actually really enjoy lesson planning. I love finding new ways to present content, getting the students engaged and perhaps even having a bit of fun while they learn (as you might have gathered from this website). I just don’t want to spend ALL of my time working from scratch.
I know this is true for many other new and experienced teachers. We are left floundering while more experienced members of staff are falling back on their years of experience and resources. I feel it is very unfair to not share lessons that you’ve done in the past and know work.
That’s not to say that everyone should be doing the exact same thing in their lessons. Far from it. Every teacher has their own style, their own pedagogies that they are comfortable with, and will create or adjust resources to suit.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t share what you do with other teachers. Just because you don’t think it’s ‘good enough’ or won’t be suited to someone else’s teaching style is no reason not to share.
There is nothing more helpful than a ready-planned lesson. Even if I don’t use the whole thing as it, at the absolute very least it gives me an idea of what the lesson should actually be about, and what possible activities/information/experiments I can use.
As many, many teachers keep telling me – why recreate the wheel?
Whenever I create a lesson, I make sure I put every part of it onto the shared drive. I do this in the hopes that others might be able to save a bit of their own time and effort and be able to use at least a part of it in their own lesson.
I know people use my lessons, I have seen them do so.
And I understand why perhaps some people stop sharing.
I rarely am given thanks for sharing my resources. It seems as though I am doing all the planning, and others are taking advantage of that. Taking advantage of my hard work, my hours. Yes, it is disheartening and frustrating, seeing people using my lessons and resources with no reciprocation. But will I stop sharing? No. Because then I am just another part of the problem.
My question to you, fellow teachers, is this – do you share your resources with other teachers? Why or why not?
Would it really be that bad to help each other out?
About the Author:
Emily is a secondary science and math teacher in Australia. She enjoys blogging about her experiences, facilitating the ‘light bulb’ moment in her students, and drinking tea and wine. Emily is currently on maternity leave with her first child. You can read more teaching articles from Emily here, or about her life as a new mum over at Actual Mums.