Sharing as Teachers

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.

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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?

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Image courtesy of Giphy.

Now there are certainly benefits to sharing our professional content and I am sure the benefits largely outweigh the pitfalls.

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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:

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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!

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Sharing as Teachers

  1. I am very interested in researching about how architectural design at workplace has an impact on productive collaboration between staff, thank you for pointing it out. Are those the photos of your workplace? They look amazing, so much space for informal interaction to be taken place.

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    1. Thanks for checking out my blog! Yes, that’s one of the new schools in Regina. There are 6 that look like that, just different colours. You’re right, it is interesting to consider how architectural design impacts collaboration and learning, I think it is often overlooked, by myself included!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love our collaboration room at our school. I can say it takes a few years to get used to it. I have been in a new building for 4 years now. I luckily opened Douglas Park School so we have been in it for a few years. Over time it gets better as you get closer to your colleagues and you find people like you said that you ‘jive’ with and that you have compatible teaching styles. It will come and when it does you will be blown away! Our school has some great collaboration going on as we have all been there for a few years now so we seem to have it figured out….so far… haha good luck!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know exactly what you mean that time is important- I’m usually driving home from work when a new thought pops into my mind from an earlier discussion. Sometimes it’s way later: I’ll read a book months later and it will take me back to an earlier discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

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