Online Collaboration by Teachers

I love the online collaboration that is available to all teachers now!  I spend hours searching the internet for the best lesson plans and the best games and the best webquests around!  I love that teachers share the work they have done and are willing to put their work out on the internet to share with other teachers!  I admit I am severly creatively limited and I find it helpful to see what other teachers are doing!  I have great difficulty coming up with creative and original ideas on my own but I am pretty good at taking another idea and building on it.  However, one of my biggest pet peeves in education is the competitiveness of teachers!  I was thinking about this yesterday at school; Teachers aren’t willing to share their brilliant ideas with teammates or others at school because of competitiveness – the desire to be “The Best Teacher” at the school!

That mentality makes me crazy!  I know that I am not really speaking to the people that share their information online because I am sure they are the teachers, like me, that share everything they do with everyone around them – probably making everyone crazy with the latest technology idea we have come up with!  I think teachers often lose sight of the MOST important thing that we do and that is TEACH!!!!  Our one main goal and our one main driving force has got to be – What is best for the students that I teach! If we teach our students that colloboration is so important and then we as teachers don’t utilize the same mentality are we really helping our students?  My students ask at nearly every lesson, “Mrs. D, did you make this lesson or did you “borrow” it from someone else?”.  I tell my students all the time that working with others will only make me better – because I understand that others have talents that I can learn from.  My principal said that the award, “Teacher of the Year” only fosters competitiveness among teachers and for that reason my school does not have a teacher of the year.  I think that is a great stance – because we should be striving to make each other better for our students – not competing with each other.

I worked in the business world for 5 years before becoming an educator and I did not see competitiveness in the business world the way I see it in education.  I wonder why teachers are such a competitive group and I wonder why the online world has opened up a free-source of sharing that hasn’t made it’s way into the classrooms yet?  I love going on line and learning from those around me and I wish more teachers in the classroom would realize that we are all on the same team and by sharing and not competing we are only making our students stronger!