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Teachers Steal

“Ms. Fultz, teachers steal!” cried one of my third graders as he rushed into our room from math class.  My first instinct was that he must have had some small toy or coveted possession confiscated by his math teacher.  However, that was not the case.  Further investigation proved that he hadn’t been too far from the truth.  We do steal!  Except we don’t steal from our students, we steal from each other.  Let’s follow his thinking.

I make a cute mathematical penguin with my math group each year.  After seeing them in the hallway, my coteachers decided it was a great idea.  So what did they do?  They made them too.  They STOLE my idea.  But guess what?  I stole it from a student teacher I mentored a few years earlier.  Shh… don’t tell.

I pass out Friday Folder papers each week using a “work rainbow” so that students can easily help me assemble the folders.  This process takes just a couple minutes right before lunch compared to the half hour I previously spent doing it alone in the evening.  It worked so well (and saved valuable time) that other teachers gave it a try.  They STOLE my idea!  But guess what?  I stole it from a coteacher at my previous school.  We’re guilty as charged and there are countless other examples.

What my little guy saw as stealing was actually sharing. I believe it’s the trademark of a great teacher and an exceptional school.  I’ve been in a lot of different buildings through my college experiences and have worked in two schools myself.  By far, the best buildings are ones where teachers collaborate and share their ideas.  Not only does it lessen the burden of constantly reinventing the wheel, but it’s just good practice too.  No one should be expected to do it all alone.

With the ever-growing resources for teachers online, stealing sharing has become even easier.  Even if you work in a building where teachers shut their doors, there are countless other teachers via the internet who are more than happy to share their ideas and resources with you.  There are websites (and businesses) dedicated to this very exchange. 

I’ve started this blog as another way to connect with my fellow educational superheros and share my ideas.  So what have you stolen lately?