This is the third part of my Reflection Series for 2017 – a self-reflection of my teaching this year.
What is something you found particularly frustrating this year?
As a teacher, I feel like this list could go on for miles and miles.
The job is so complex and nuanced that ‘particularly frustrating’ things come up almost daily. Their causes are numerous, their outcomes even more so.
Perhaps the most frustrating single thing this year was trying to sort out my maternity leave. But I’ll go into more detail on that in a future post, and have covered it here as well.
One other key thing that I found particularly frustrating this year is one I seem to deal with on a never-ending basis.
Teachers not sharing resources.
In fact, I first wrote about it in January of 2016 – Sharing Resources.
Very little frustrates me more professionally than teachers who won’t share their teaching resources.
My entire teaching career I have freely shared all of my resources with my colleagues, even with my pre-service teachers. Any activity I find, any powerpoint I make, any video I include – I share it all on our school common drive so that all of the other teachers can use them if they wish.
And they do use them. I know because I see them using them, and they tell me they use them.
The problem comes when it isn’t reciprocated. Which is the vast majority of the time.
I’ll walk past someone else’s classroom, or have a conversation about a lesson, and see something completely fantastic. An activity I’d not heard of, a video I’d not seen, a way to present the content that I never thought of.
So why aren’t these other teachers sharing their resources with me, the way I share with all of them? It’s frustrating enough to make me want to cry sometimes.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s got nothing to do with getting out of preparation time.
It has everything to do with giving my students the best possible educational experience, and recognising the fact that I definitely don’t come up with them on my own. I love seeing what other teachers do, and I would really appreciate them sharing.
I once had a teacher tell me they didn’t think their resources were ‘good enough’ to share with other teachers. Then why the hell are you using them for your class?!?!
I also know of other teachers who feel the activities etc they are doing with their classes should be kept only for their classes – this is usually because they are the ‘gifted and talented’, ‘higher achieving’, or even the ‘lower achieving’ students. Like they should, for some unknown reason, have a different educational experience to the ‘other’ classes. Like the higher level classes need to be made to feel special – they are getting more opportunities than the other classes because they are ‘smarter’. Oh wait, that’s not politically correct – they are ‘more academically able’. How would anyone know if they other classes are just as ‘academically able’ unless you give them the same opportunities? And with regard to the lower level classes, yes you generally need to take things a bit slower, but there’s no reason why an activity that is designed to scaffold them a bit more through a piece of content can’t be used in a ‘higher’ level class – it could be a revision activity, or simply done in half the time limit.
We are here for our students, not for ourselves.
We find and make resources so our students can learn.
You don’t have the right to withhold those resources from other teachers. There is no secrecy involved when you’re using said resources to teach a class (or multiple of your own classes).
Heck, if you work for a state or government department, legally you don’t own any of the resources you create while on work time anyway – the department does. Therefore, you legally don’t have a right to keep them to yourself.
And don’t even get me started on selling resources like they do on Teachers Pay Teachers. Adam from Mr Hill’s Musings sums up my own opinions quite nicely in this article. I know I’m in a minority in that sense, but I think it’s really quite rude to charge other teachers for the privilege of using a teaching resource, especially if you work for a state or government department school.
Anyway, I’m going to end my rant here with a simple request – please share your resources with your colleagues. You owe it to all the students in your school, and you never know when the favour returned might save you a bit of time and/or effort, or make your own lessons that little bit more engaging. We are meant to be collaborative after all!
About the Author:
Emily is a secondary science and math teacher in Australia, who is currently on maternity leave with her first child. She enjoys blogging about her experiences, facilitating the ‘light bulb’ moment in her students, creating hilarious teaching memes, and drinking tea and wine. You can see more posts from Emily here!