I was chatting with a friend of mine from Phoenix yesterday about the happenings of my school year, when we got started talking about the fellow teachers in our building. No names were mentioned, nor would it matter since we teach in different schools, in different districts, in different states. However, it saddened me to hear the disappointment my friend had in her colleagues because of the poor attitudes and ridiculous behavior that occurs in her building. In a school with less than 20 actual staff members, she said that there is no “community”. How is that even possible? I’m in the second largest elementary school in my district with over 100 staff members and there is definitely a “community”. She then went on to tell me more about teachers teaming up against one another, jealousy, and even theft. This is crazy!
We both briefly served roles in the business world before returning to school to pursue education. Therefore, she summarized her thoughts as the following: in a world where we (teachers) aren’t compensated with incentives or increased salaries for good work, we tend to crave the praise and recognition for doing something unique and challenging in our classrooms as our “financial gain”. Again, this got me to thinking…is she right? Since we lack the incentive and income structure of corporate America, is this how we function within the education world to “get” what is ours or we feel “owed” to us for doing something a little more creative than the next classroom over? Quite possibly. Why is it that teachers are so afraid to collaborate and share what they do in their own classrooms with fellow teachers? Why do we continue to reinvent the wheel individually because someone else doesn’t want to share? Why do we, as teachers, feel the need to securely lock our file drawers full of lessons, worksheets, and ideas that could possibly help a student from another 2nd grade class? Why do we not follow our own teachings from toddlerhood…sharing is caring?