teachin' school

teaching tip 28. beg, borrow, and steal.

today’s tip is pretty straightforward…beg, borrow, and steal.

i remember doing my student teaching eight years ago and my cooperating teacher said to me one day, “go into my file cabinets and make a copy of everything in there.”

at first, i didn’t understand why.  but as i started spending time in front of the copy machine making probably hundreds of copies, i began to get it.  i didn’t have anything to start my teaching career with.  sure, i had my bulletin board stuff and school supplies.  but i didn’t have the materials that i needed.  as i made more and more copies, some of the other teachers in the social studies department started handing me a copy of whatever they thought i needed.  most teachers were willing to give me anything and everything to help me.  but some were weird about it.  they didn’t want to share their seemingly genius ideas.  it’s okay, i didn’t need their crap anyway.

so as you begin teaching…

beg – ask the people in your department/grade level for ideas and materials.  nine times out of ten, they are willing to give you whatever they can to help you.  a lot of times, they can give you an idea of what will work and what to forget about.  if you believe that a particular thing will be great for your classroom, ask for it!  i’ve only been turned down a couple of times.  as long as you have a solid reason for buying something, your principal will at least listen to your explanation.

borrow – if someone has a lesson or materials that you think would work for you, borrow them.  the web is also a great place to get ideas from people.  find a few blogs that you can read regularly.  (i keep those on my bloglovin’ list so that i only have to go to one place to read them.)  pinterest is one of my go-to places for ideas too.  i keep a couple of different boards so that it’s easier to find ideas.

steal – now normally, i wouldn’t condone stealing, but with teaching it’s almost necessary.  if there’s something left on the copier that you like, make a copy.  if you hear someone talking about a good idea, take it and adapt it to what you’re doing.  if you see another teacher do something awesome, try it.  workshops are a great place to get ideas from other people or the presenters.  i keep a binder of the things i get from workshops so i can go back to it when i want to use one of them.  a big part of teaching is trying things to see what works so “steal” an idea and see if it fits your classroom.

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