As a teacher, I am always the first to say that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. I remember first hearing that saying during my internship from my co-operating teacher. I also remember being shocked that she would let me use her materials and feeling so grateful and lucky. Since then I have tried hard to stay true to that notion, why make things more complicating than we need to? Why not share what we have with others? That being said, I have not done a lot of sharing in my years as a teacher. Here are several reasons why I haven’t.
Now that being said, I think I kind of got into a bad habit in terms of sharing my resources. But I actually do love to talk about teaching and teaching approaches. I just don’t seem to find people I jive with super well. Also, the time thing is a big one for me. While collaboration is so nice, it is also very time consuming. I know you might be saying, well wouldn’t planning and sharing resources together save time in the long run? It might, but for day to day things, I don’t see how it could. It seems most of the time you end up discussing and talking it through (sometimes endlessly), when I feel I work best with a quick talk and done. Decided. However, now with my twitter account, I can see how online PLNs could curb this aspect of my sharing dilemma.
I know in his TED talk, Steven Johnson talks about how most eureka moments do not in fact happen while a person is by themselves, instead they occur in discussion with other people and through “stitching ideas together.” I do believe this, sometimes my best ideas happen after I’ve bounced ideas and chatted with someone. But I think the key word there is “after.” I am the type of person who needs to discuss and then definitely need time on my own to ruminate and let the ideas or discussions sit. I guess this is where Johnson’s idea of a “Slow Hunch” comes to mind. For my professional work, I don’t usually need years, but I find if I get an inkling of something, whether through discussions or on my own, I need a few days to think it over. And usually to do only that: think. Any more over-thinkers out there?
Image courtesy of Giphy.
Now there are certainly benefits to sharing our professional content and I am sure the benefits largely outweigh the pitfalls.
From my current teaching perspective, I think our province’s education system is attempting to push for a more collaborative culture among teachers. As a teacher at one of our new builds, so much of the architecture points to collaborative sharing:
Teacher workroom, open learning space, garage door to have learning in different spots with different groups
I think it is great that they were attempting to create a more conducive environment through building design. That being said, I think that is only half of the battle. For several reasons, I do think all teachers (regardless of environment) need to be given time to collaborate.
-to get our feet planted and settled in a new environment with our new students first
-to get to know each other
-to get a sense of each other’s teaching styles
-to learn how we each “run” our school year
-to actually discuss and plan
Sharing our students’ work online has never been a strong point of mine. In fact, I don’t think I have ever done it. However, in that same vein, I have made a point of looking at other teachers’ blogs to get planning ideas. Has anyone else only used on side of the sharing? (oops) Before this year, I also never had a platform to share my ideas. I now use Seesaw in my classroom, have a twitter account and this blog. Whew!
In using Seesaw, I was only self-taught. For the first month, everything I knew about it, I learned on my own. This was working just fine for my purposes. Though after joining twitter and following @seesaw, I have learned a lot more!
I really had no plans to do further online viewing or reading to learn more about Seesaw as everything I figured out suited all I wanted to use it for. But as a visual person, seeing the pictures peeked my interest and made me realize just how many wonderful things Seesaw can do.
I might now be an online sharing fan!