Is this unethical?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by heavens54, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    We have to put our lesson plan binders in our mailboxes at the end of the day on Friday. I sometimes leave late. I looked at someone's binder to get some ideas, because I'm having difficulties with my plan format. Do you think that's unethical? Would you look negatively at someone who peeked in your binder? I have mixed feelings. It was truly for educational purposes. Not to "check up" on them or to see if they were doing enough. Just trying to learn and get new ideas. Thank you for your comments.
     
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I would just ask some people if I could see their lesson plans. I don't know if it's unethical to peek at someone's in the mailbox but but I don't think I'd mind if someone saw mine. I saw someone's lesson plans that were left in the printer one day so I looked at them. Mine were better so I didn't get any good ideas!
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I think it is a bit sketchy. Just ask if you want to know. Don't sneak.
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    It's a bit odd, maybe not unethical. I would definitely ask for permission from the teacher first.
     
  6. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I think it would be great if teachers got to see what colleagues were doing with their lessons. Most people have great ideas. Only one time I wished I hadn't asked to see someone's plans was when I first started at my new school I asked the teacher across the hall (who DID tell me to feel free to ask for help at any time) if I could take a look at her lesson plans to see if I was doing them the right way. What she showed me was utter CR*P and I think she was somewhat embarrassed by them. The most recent one she had was dated July and it was January at the time. I at least learned how NOT to write them!! That's always helpful I guess :woot:
    (and this is the teacher that can't handle her kids...maybe it's because she has crappy lessons and they don't like her class :whistle:)
    Ok, vent ended lol
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Would you like people sneaking into your lesson plan for ideas and using those ideas without your permission and passing them off as their own?

    I believe people should work together, but you aren't working together. You are not able to come up with your own ideas and stealing other's ideas. Unethical? Yes. Taking other people's ideas without permission and creating plans based off of someone else's work is unethical.

    Ask them if you can look at what they do. Also, try to see how they connect the idea to the standards they are teaching and see if you can see the types of connections they make. This will help you learn how to make the connections needed to generate ideas.
     
  8. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    It's pretty sneaky/sketchy. Just ask!
     
  9. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    I don't know about unethical, but I do think it's kind of rude especially since they were in that person's binder and in their box (though you may not have been meaning to be rude, of course). I would ask first ;)
     
  10. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    I'm at a new school. We had very different expectations for lesson plans there. I haven't been able to find a plan that works for me. We really don't run into each other when they leave their books. I left yesterday at 5:30 and looked at a two that were a grade above. I don't like my left to right format, and was looking for a different perspective. I also wasn't sure how much we needed to include.

    They weren't there, or I would have asked them. I admit, I didn't want to appear lame. I'm searching for a better way, because mine are hard for me to read. Overall it's harmless, but I do think it is a little sketchy.

    I wouldn't mind AT ALL if someone looked at mine while in the mailbox, as long as it wasn't to judge me or rat me out for something. But that's just me...
     
  11. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    It wouldn't bother me. Might wonder why you didn't just ask though.
     
  12. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Thanks all. I appreciate your input. I was looking for a model to go by. I had no idea who to ask. Some, at a glance, were horrible. A few were wonderful. I have a much better picture due to my sleuthing. But I do feel "sneaky Pete" about it.
     
  13. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I wouldn't care less if you (or anyone) looked at my LPs without asking me first. I have real problems to worry about at work.
     
  14. Mrs.DLC

    Mrs.DLC Comrade

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    We have to put ours on the computer and anyone can look at them!! AS Blue said,with all of our duties, who has time to look at all of them???
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I wouldn't mind sharing at all if someone asked to see my plans, but I would feel really weird about someone "sneaking" and getting them out of my mailbox.
     
  16. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    We post ours online, so anyone at our school has access to them. I would have no problem with anyone looking at them. If they were in a binder like you mentioned, I also wouldn't mind, at all. Now, if you came to my room and read them in my binder there, I might wonder, but it wouldn't bother me. I think teacher being competitive over lesson plans is silly. We work as a team at my school. If someone needs inspiration and chooses to take it from my meager lesson plans, I would be honored.
     
  17. TeacherNY

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    I'm assuming the OP didn't ask anyone at the time because she was there late and nobody else was around. I really like the idea of lesson plans being available on the computer for everyone to see. Not to "steal" but to get ideas.
     
  18. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I would have a problem with it.

    One year, my old P decided she wanted us to post our lesson plans on a website so we could see each others' plans. (It only lasted a year since no one actually looked at each others' plans. Who has time for that?!) I did not have a problem with that.

    The difference? I knew I was sharing things in the second situation. If someone peeked at my stuff without my knowledge, I'd feel uncomfortable. It is a trust issue. I would immediately think 'what else will they do behind my back'. I don't have a problem sharing and would hand my planbook over if asked.

    ETA- I didn't read the responses before I posted. I'm laughing since a lot of us seem to have had to post them online, but no one actually looks at each others.
     
  19. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    We do ours as a grade level (a different person is responsible each 9 weeks for a different subject - there are 8 of us) and they are posted on line. Anyone in the school can see them.
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    The stealing part comes in because of not obtaining permission. On-line systems where everyone posts their lesson plans so everyone can see gives implied permission or forced (by admin) permission.

    I've heard many teachers claim others stole their ideas when the person uses ideas without permission. Making a copy of something left on the copy machine and modifying it slightly and re-using it would be deemed stealing. I've even heard and read others call that stealing because permission wasn't obtained.

    As I said before, I'm all for sharing, with permission. As another poster said, if I found out someone was sneaking my ideas and using them behind my back, trust for that person is gone because I don't know what else the person will sneak to obtain.
     
  21. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    I think if the OP were taking ideas for lessons and passing them off as their own, it would be unethical. But, from what I can understand, the OP was looking for a template.

    Are people really that protective over their lesson plan templates?

    Would I mind? Probably not. I'd think it a little weird you didn't ask, but I'd get over it.
     
  22. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I don't think it's unethical, but I also don't think it's a good idea. Most teachers are more than happy to share lesson plans, just ask :)
     
  23. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    If this is a teacher who you have admired for their lessons, I would simply 'fess up and admit that had the situation been different (time, availability, etc.) you would have never touched the binder without permission, and that you have been wracked by guilt because you had no intention of being sneaky or underhanded. Now, if you saw something that amazed you, this would be the time to compliment and ask if you could talk to her about the rationale she used to create awesome plans. You might even ask her to look at your plans and see if anything struck her that might be an extra spark to make the lesson really sizzle. Then, make a point to not peek again, but address outstanding teachers for pointers when there is time and rapport.
     
  24. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    This is my question. It seems like the OP was only interested in getting new ideas to perfect her lesson plans.

    IMO, none of my ideas are so great, life-changing, or profound that I would be upset if someone else used them - with or without my permission. Whether it be lesson plans ideas, classroom management ideas, or anything similar; I don't think it's a big deal.

    I guess some people feel that their lesson plan ideas need trademarks ... you know, because they've invented the next light bulb or something else revolutionary. :cool:
     
  25. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Many teachers would be amazed to know that many districts own the intellectual rights to material that is used in teaching while under contract. I only know that because my mentor had some lessons that she wanted to sell on TPT, and this fact was brought to her attention by an administrator. The fact that this obscure fact was buried deep in her contract was pointed out to her. That didn't go well, and it was discussion fodder at lunches for at least a month! :cool:
     
  26. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Nothing about this job surprises me anymore. Not a thing.
     
  27. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    In fact most universities do likewise, in the absence of specific language inserted in the contract that says otherwise.
     
  28. 2ndTimeAround

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    This might become a bigger issue when/if districts and states pit teachers against each other. NC had a plan to reward the top 25% of teachers with extra money. I imagine there would be a lot less sharing going on if money was on the line.
     
  29. Loveslabs

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    I think it depends. Did the idea to look just hit you when you were standing there putting your own in the box or had you been thinking about sneaking a peak for a bit of time?
    How would you have felt if someone caught you looking?
    The only issue I would have would have been if there had been something private in there that wasn't for your eyes. For example, sometimes I shove something in the back of my plan book for safe keeping. If you saw something private, like an evaluation, then I would be a tad upset. Yet, I would be more upset with myself for leaving it there for the world to possibly see.
     
  30. physteach

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    I'd be upset. I've always been fine sharing stuff (and "stealing" from people who voluntarily showed and shared their ideas with me), but you need my permission. The one time someone was looking through my stuff after I'd left it in a printer accidentally, I was annoyed. The difference is in asking. Most people are perfectly happy to help you out, but it is weird and sketchy to look without permission.
     
  31. 2ndTimeAround

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    I'm pretty good about sharing. But sometimes, when I spend hours and hours creating something on my own, I want MY students to benefit from it before it gets spread around the school.

    And I really, really want to be about to iron out any kinks before people get a chance to try and criticize.
     
  32. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Many teachers would be amazed to know that many districts own the intellectual rights to material that is used in teaching while under contract...********


    My contract is about two paragraphs long, so I don't worry too much about this. But if it was a consideration, there is an easy way around it: "my husband made this for me..."
     
  33. LisaLisa

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    I would ask before looking. I've worked with too many teachers who guard their plans like nothing else.
     
  34. chitown

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    I think it's weird to look without asking. I wouldn't want someone else looking at my plans just because I'm new and don't have a lot of confidence, but I would still let someone see if they asked. If my plans were sitting on the copier and someone looked, I'd be fine with it because they're out in the open. But the fact that it was in a closed binder in their mailbox makes me feel that there should be some expectation of privacy. I definitely think you shouldn't look again without asking first.
     
  35. 2ndTimeAround

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    I agree with chitown. Especially after reading all of the comments on this thread about colleagues' inferior plans.
     
  36. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    If it would be ok to look through someone else's lesson plans that are in a closed book and do so without permission, what else should people be able to look through without permission.

    Would it be acceptable for someone to go into a classroom that was unlocked and look through anything that was unlocked? Would it be ok to look through the drawers to see how they organized their work supplies because someone was struggling to get a handle on their own? How about their filing systems for student work? What about an unlocked computer that has lesson plans on it? Would it be ok to look into the folders to see if you can find some lesson plans to look at the templates? Why not, it is just another form of the same lesson plans?
     
  37. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think it would be good professional development for everyone involved to have some time during their scheduled collab time, pull out their written plans for the next few days (or perhaps the last few days, so that they've had time to complete them) and do a kind of lesson share, just to see how everyone plans their lessons and what kinds of activities they do. It would be a good place to share new ideas and get feedback on things.

    Of course this would be done with the full knowledge of everyone involved.
     
  38. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    ^^^ My school tried this a few years ago, but many people were not interested in seeing other people's LPs especially those who had been teaching for a while.

    Also, in my school where the departments are tiny (there is only one other HS social studies teacher), people were not interested in seeing lesson plans and hearing ideas from someone who taught another subject.

    I still think this is a good idea, just depends on certain things.
     
  39. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    If I wanted some ideas about lesson planning, and to see some other teachers' work, I would wander into their rooms after students were released but while they were still around, and strike up a conversation. Just because they left before you, doesn't mean they were completely unavailable.
     
  40. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Just to clarify; I was looking for format and required concepts that experienced teachers were turning in. I wasn't stealing their unique lessons, I was looking to find a new format template. And basic curriculum covered on the lesson plans. A model to go by. I had a template but didn't like it. I was not looking at other papers or notes. But if I'm guilty of being unethical, then I guess I'll have to live with that. I meant no harm. Thanks again for your comments.
     
  41. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Some of the best teaching practices that I use in my toolbox came from a history PD that I decided to sit in on one year. I was the only one not from the history dept at that meeting. I don't understand why people think there's nothing they can learn from another subject. Maybe it's because it's the nature of my subject to include history, writing, math, and many other content areas that makes me want to see how others teach, but I think learning from the other subjects than the one you teach would produce great amounts of growth in your own teaching and student learning.

    It's proven that linking your content with other content areas helps recall of information as it creates that mental network needed to recall and apply learning.

    I also think the practice I mentioned would be a good done like 2 or 3 times a year, but not much more than that, because after getting initial ideas from other teachers, most people like to take them and run with them on their own if they find something useful. It would get old and un-useful if it were done too often.
     

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