How to deal with teachers taking my ideas...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by newkgteacher, Aug 23, 2015.

  1. newkgteacher

    newkgteacher Rookie

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    I teach at a small, private school. Despite the fact that I am only beginning my third year of teaching, I am considered a veteran of the group because of the turnover rate. The teachers this year are all new and most of them do not have elementary teaching experience.

    I tried to be helpful by sharing my ideas, but I quickly discovered that instead of just using my ideas to create some of their own, the other teachers have instead just taken the exact ideas. I've walked into rooms that look almost exactly like mine. But, the straw that broke the camel's back was hearing that another teacher will be using the exact same Class Dojo reward system that I am using (students can advance in martial arts belts after earning a set number of points).

    I understand taking ideas from teachers not in the same school (I've gotten ideas from Pinterest), but now my ideas are not mine at my own school.

    How would you go about dealing with this? I don't think that the other teachers understand what they are doing; they are just trying to survive. But, it's really agitating for me.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Take it as a compliment. They see you as a mentor and coach. Better to have colleagues who are united and 'on the same page' than being proprietary, alone and not sharing. I'm sure once your new colleagues are feeling more secure and confident, they will have plenty of ideas they will gladly share with you! :thumb:
     
  4. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    My colleagues and I always swap ideas and share worksheets/lesson plans. We even share entire curriculums. I don't use a whole lot of stuff from them, but occasionally I'll find a cool video, article, or activity that they found/created and will implement it. If the teachers are brand new, they're still trying to learn their own teaching styles. Eventually they will and your ideas will help supplement their lessons perhaps, but they will will also have their own.
    I find that I have such a different teaching style as my colleagues, it would actually be kind of awkward to use their lessons verbatim because it's just not me. I change and adapt to my needs. But as we all were first year teachers, it's super helpful to have someone so willing to share and give. My first year teaching, my mentor gave me all of her files. I did use a lot of her worksheets as I was still developing my own style, but I did create a lot on my own. Her examples really taught me how to develop guided worksheets effectively and engaging power points.
    I still to this day use some of her stuff and others', but I do have much of my own work too. That is what teaching is all about (sharing, collaborating, a little bit of stealing lol).
    I don't think using Class Dojo is using your reward system. You did not create it yourself and it is a tool for teachers. I often share tools and resources with other teachers that I did not create myself. It is meant for all teachers, and it seems to be an effective tool that many teachers use from what I see on this forum.

    I too would take it is a compliment. They look up to you and you must be pretty dang good. :) I understand in a way your frustration because you don't want to lose your ideas to others and then it doesn't become your idea anymore. That is teaching for you.
     
  5. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    This :)

    In the future, you could put your own name on any hand-outs that you give them. "Created by..." so that way you have create - teachers may be less likely to just use it straight away if it has a teacher's name on it.
     
  6. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    All what remains in the end is whether children win or lose. If other teachers are using your exact ideas and children are doing better in school behaviorally or academically isn't that a good thing? I share ideas all the time with teachers and most of the time when they use my ideas, it is exactly as I shared them. This means that more students do well at our school, which helps our school and helps our students. Accept the compliment and keep sharing away are my two suggestions.
     
  7. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    As long as the other teachers aren't doing things with your students that you're planning on doing with them, I wouldn't worry about it at all. Like others have already said, it's a compliment and it's beneficial to their students. The other teachers will eventually be comfortable/experienced enough to create their own ideas or put their own twist on other's ideas.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It's also helpful to view the students on your grade level as 'our students' instead of 'my students' and 'their students' A mindset change like this could help you see this situation in a better, more positive way. :thumb:
     
  9. newkgteacher

    newkgteacher Rookie

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    I respect and understand that, but I am teaching 3rd grade this year and the teachers are from other grade levels.

    I don't think I was clear enough in my original post: I use Class Dojo for a points system, but I added martial arts belts as a reward for students that reach a certain amount of points. When they reach these point values, I will have a special belt ceremony and they get to wear the belt around school the whole day. This entire idea is now being used by another teacher. So, this is a little more than just sharing worksheets. My concern is not so much that my idea was being used without being asked, but that this was something special for my students. Now, they get to see other students being rewarded the same way and it may not be as special for them.

    However, I also understand the other posters suggesting that the other teachers are just looking for ideas. I don't want them to feel bad about using the idea, which is probably why I won't say anything; I don't want to embarrass them. I'm glad that they liked the idea enough to use it. I just needed to hear that I should lighten up about it, which is why I posted here.
     
  10. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    What a huge compliment to have others use your ideas. Almost all the teachers I have ever known are big givers; sharing ideas and resources whenever possible. Teamwork in teaching is so important, especially as the turnover rates are so high and brand new teachers are introduced into the classroom. The students are the most important part of education. If you have an idea, lesson plan or resource that works please share. Teaching is so difficult and overwhelming, especially for newer teachers or those who are changing grade levels. Any support is usually greatly appreciated!
     
  11. SCTeacher23

    SCTeacher23 Comrade

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    This. I get really excited when other teachers use my ideas. I think of it as a compliment. It's really exciting when the P will see multiple teachers using my idea and another teacher will tell the P that they got the idea from me.
     
  12. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    I understand the class dojo thing now and I get it. That is frustrating :/ Sorry about that! I don't know how you can bring it up to that teacher without make him/her feel bad.

    I wouldn't want someone taking something like that verbatim and using it in their classroom either, unless it was a departmental thing upon which we all agreed and came up with together. Using some activities and worksheets is fine, but you're right, they need to be original also in order to grow as an educator. Perhaps since it's their first year teaching, they don't know what's appropriate or not and where the line is. In the future, if you are to share an idea or a system, preface it with saying that "this is how I use it, this is my system, and it's a great resource, but create your own system with this resource and please don't use mine" to prevent any awkward situation. That way you're being very explicit about using your ideas, but you're still being helpful and giving them resources.
     
  13. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    This would be nice too, but not every teacher gives credit where it's due.
     
  14. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    So, you've never used an idea from another teacher, whether someone you knew or from the internet? Sharing is a huge part of teaching.
    If the teacher using you Class Dojo idea is below you, think of how much easier it will be to transition them into your classroom in the future.
    The only thing that would make me upset is if a teacher from the younger grade did an exact lesson of mine. That is only because I wouldn't be able to use it when I had those students in the future.
     
  15. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    It's not my concern what another teacher does in their classroom. If they take an exact idea from me, it doesn't negatively affect me in any way.
     
  16. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Is it good for the students?
     
  17. newkgteacher

    newkgteacher Rookie

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    I hear ideas and then I modify them to fit my classroom. I don't use the exact idea, but that's probably just me wanting to be original.
     
  18. newkgteacher

    newkgteacher Rookie

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    At the end of the day, this is probably why I will not bring it up. But, it is still frustrating.
     
  19. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think this is it exactly. Once they become more comfortable, they'll start playing around with their own ideas, either modifying yours or coming up with completely new ones. Until then, as czacza said, take it as a compliment. It might be agitating, but as long as they give you credit when it's due, I don't see the harm.
     
  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Also I wouldn't be shy about suggesting to the teacher that they come up with their own ideas.

    Contrary to being mean, telling a new teacher that they don't have to copy everything you do can actually be very liberating. Before I started at my current position, I was used to schools where I was supposed to be in lock-step with the other teachers (either because of my inexperience or because it was policy there).

    I came to my new position expecting the same, and was surprised when my cooperating teacher came right out and said: "You do what's right for your classroom, and I'll do whats right for mine."

    Taken in the wrong context it might sound like "I don't want to help you" but that wasn't the case at all. He was telling me to feel free to experiment with my own curriculum and procedures, and not feel limited to doing the exact same thing he is doing.

    Your new teachers may think that they're required to do the same thing as you. Tell them otherwise. Don't just bottle it in.

    Having the freedom and creativity to do what I want is now one of the main reasons I love teaching.
     
  21. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Everybody shares at my school. Other teachers will walk up to me at the copy machine, like what they see and ask for copies to use. I'll walk in to other classrooms, see a lesson going on and tell he teacher something like "I love that. I'm going to do that with my class." I'd honestly find it odd if a teacher wasn't willing to share ideas. If it works for your students, wouldn't you want the students in the other classes to benefit from it as well? Or, is there some sort of reason your school sets you up to be competitive with the other teachers. For bonuses or evaluations or something like that? If not, I'm not really understanding what the issue is.
     
  22. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    If I were you, I would not waste an ounce of frustration over other people using the ideas you offered up and chose to share. Either keep your ideas to yourself and don't share or don't complain when others - especially new teachers - use the ideas you shared with them.

    In the year 2015, there are few truly original ideas out there. Whatever you are doing in your school or in your classroom; someone, somewhere, has (probably) already done it. Nature of the beast.
     
  23. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    In a profession where collaboration and the sharing of "best practices" and resources are pushed, very little will remain "just yours." People like to use and try out other successful ideas - which is why Pinterest is so popular - and I think you are setting yourself for lots of unnecessary stress if you are expecting otherwise.

    Now, if you truly think you are onto something BIG, get it trademarked ASAP and write a book about your ideas/methods/practices.
     
  24. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    If someone was like, "here is a suggestion/idea, but, please, don't use mine"; I would feel a certain way about this "teammate" and none of it would be good. But, I would never use their ideas because I can tell that this person is possessive and petty.

    If you are going to help a new teacher - help without conditions.
     
  25. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    The real question was : Is it good for the kids? If is good for yours then it probably is good for theirs. You are obviously an asset to the school. Be proud.
     
  26. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I think it will be really cool for students to see friends from other classes who have earned their belts. Gives them an opportunity to celebrate each others' accomplishments!:thumb:
     
  27. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I get what you are saying here. This time around it is probably too late to do much. I know when I have an idea and I want it to be really special and only for my students (it is rare, but it has happened), I don't share it with colleagues. An example of this is when I have a really cool and creative idea that is really unique to 5th grade, I might not want them to already use that idea in 4th grade. This is especially true if there is a lot of time and money invested in the project. I am never shy about sharing ideas though with teachers in grades above me or at the same grade. Therefore, I would suggest next time don't share with younger grade teachers something you really don't want copied.

    In this particular situation, you could attempt to make it into a positive. Tell your students that other classes think it is so cool to have a belt, that they want to earn one too such as czacza said.
     
  28. newkgteacher

    newkgteacher Rookie

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    Thanks for the input everyone :)
     
  29. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I understand that using something as specific and unique as the 'martial arts belt' system is frustrating, but try to not get upset over it. As far as the teachers using your ideas, like others said, take it as a compliment.
    When I was a LTS at juvenile hall, my first year of teaching, a 27 year veteran teacher started using my behavior points systems (it's a slight alteration of Fred Jones' system). I took it as a compliment,. even the kids knew and said that she copied me :)

    At my school everyone is doing their own things, I'm the 2nd newest teacher. If any of the teacher would do things the way I do them I would take is as the biggest compliment.
     
  30. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    One of my coworkers who is a close friend is going through this right now. I do understand where you are coming from, OP. My friend/coworker teaches K and feels that her whole team basically just copies everything she does rather than putting their own effort in. Even worse, they have a new teammate this year and one of the veteran K teachers is putting on a show of sharing all of "her" ideas and things with the new teammate. The thing is, everything she's sharing was created by my friend, not her, and the veteran teammate is just taking credit for all of it. IMO, that is not okay. It can definitely be frustrating if you feel like you're the one doing all the work for the team, especially if you're not working with people that are new/inexperienced. Like others said, at least it is a compliment in the sense that people obviously think your ideas are good.
     
  31. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    If you're willing to share your ideas, then I'd assume you are willing for other teachers to use them.
     
  32. The Fonz

    The Fonz Math teacher (for now...)

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    I didn't read the responses, but here's my thoughts:

    Who cares?

    "Oh no, someone else is using class dojo!!"

    It's not like you created the app ...jeeze.
     
  33. 49erteacher

    49erteacher Rookie

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    I understand how you feel. This is unique to your classroom and you are sorry that it will no longer be unique.

    I am the only returning teacher to my grade level (with two new teachers). I am planning to go out of my way to share my ideas and collaborate. I like the idea of being able to help new teachers when I can.

    Yet, there is a new classroom management system that I am playing with (that I read about online), that I haven't shared. I have shared a piece of it, but I am not talking about the whole thing, because I want it to be special for my kids. Part of it is that I haven't even seen yet how it goes over, but I also want it to be my thing for now.

    If they ask for my advice, I will share what has always worked for me, but for now I want my special thing in my classroom.
     
  34. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    I guess the lesson here is just to share what you're ok with others using as is. If you're not ok with it being used exactly how you do it, don't share it. If it's something you spent a ton of time on and you feel that you don't want it duplicated in another class (essentially no work on the other teacher's part), keep it to yourself. However, it would be nice (and I think very professional) of the new teachers (and veteran teachers) to ask permission to implement a creative and original idea (like the martial arts dojo) from the teacher who created before implementing it 100%, but that's the chance one takes for sharing all the details I guess. I've worked with teachers who will share everything and others who were very selective and possessive and private. Sometimes it was "I'll share this if you share that" kind of thing, which is fair. You have to decide at the end of the day what your expectations are and what you're ok with losing as your own. Anything you give away is no longer your own. And another thing is, once you give away documents, expect those to be shared with other colleagues. I have a huge mix of folders and documents from many other teachers I've worked with over the years and what I've found from online mixed in with my own stuff, and I'm sure I've shared much of it with other teachers. I will try and respect a teacher's wish to not share a particular project with other teachers (because this particular teacher only uses it for a certain level and doesn't want lower level kids having the project before they get to her), but that request is asked of me up front and I understand and agree to the conditions. It's not to say that if I leave the school I won't take it with me and possibly share it with other teachers in the future, because I may, because I own it now and it was given to me.
    At the end of the day, I would expect the professional courtesy of asking beforehand before someone implemented my intellectual property if it was something bigger than an activity or worksheet. I understand the time and work that goes into big projects and classroom management systems, so if I were to implement them, as a veteran teacher who gets it, I would ask first. I would assume if it was given to me I could without question, but I would still verify and talk it over.

    Now teachers: what do you do about another teacher ripping an idea from you without your permission or sharing of said idea? What if another teacher saw something you did in class and copied you? For instance, say OP had a colleague that saw her implement the martial arts thing in an observation or heard about it through a conversation, but OP did not share it personally with him/her, would that still be ok? Is grabbing an extra copy of something at the copy machine that you did not create ok to take and use in your own classroom? Must you wait for someone to share with you or ask first? I've worked with colleagues who were bothered/annoyed by other colleagues who would just take their projects without asking and implement as is (no changes - same rubric and everything and was clearly taken from the copy room without permission). Is our intellectual property no longer ours once it is off of our computers or in someone else's hands?
    Some teachers put their names on their worksheets/project, but anyone can copy a project and whiteout the name and it takes zero effort.
     
  35. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I'm glad I work somewhere where we do share a lot. Out one English teacher just put a bunch of stuff in our mailboxes that she thought we would like. We do sometimes see things on the copier and use it too. I like that we all teach relatively similar things in a similar way. It makes it much easier on the kids. I definitely don't care if someone uses my materials unless they are trying to teach the same stories or novels I teach, but that has never happened.
     
  36. indigo-angel

    indigo-angel Companion

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    Since the teachers are new, they're using your already established systems and resources as a starting point. Eventually, they will branch out, learn new things, and create their own classrooms. Personally, I've always taken it as a compliment when others used my ideas/materials. I don't get why it's something to be annoyed about.
     
  37. newkgteacher

    newkgteacher Rookie

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    Sorry, I guess I left more details out of my OP:

    I did not willfully share my ideas. My room is this year's "meeting" room for our weekly meeting and PD sessions because it is the most centralized location. So, when we had our first meeting, and everyone saw my section of the room dedicated to Class Dojo, they all hovered around it and asked questions. I thought they were just interested in the idea, and since I'm the Class Dojo Mentor for my school, saw it as an opportunity to discuss how it works. But, they saw my belt system, because it is displayed, and now they are using it.
     
  38. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    ^^^ I still don't think it's worth getting upset over.

    On the other hand, if you have the time and energy to stress over a new teacher using your Class Dojo idea; then you probably don't have any real teaching problems. Lucky you.
     
  39. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'd thank the younger teachers for making sure kiddos come to you already knowing (and being excited about) your classroom management system, and be grateful that your previous students are going to have consistency to help them get off to a good start.
     
  40. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    It would have been nice if they asked to use your ideas. I would say never tell them "no" but it still pretty rude of them not to ask. There are a few teachers who hover around me when i'm making copies or something. They always want to know what I'm doing because they say I have the "good ideas". That's fine with me. They sometimes ask for a copy of what I have and of course I share. It's not even really out of the ordinary stuff but some teachers are just not that creative on their own and need some help at times.
     
  41. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    You have two options--either let it go or do something about it. If you don't want others using your ideas, find another place to hold your meetings so that no one else sees what is up in your room. If you do talk about ideas, make it clear that you don't want anyone else using them. If another teacher asks you to explain your system, or any other ideas, explain if you want to, but tell them you don't want anyone else to do the same thing. You probably will, however, come across as being selfish and as someone who isn't a "team player". However...if it bothers you so much, you'll need to take that stand.
     

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