Proprietory teachers

Discussion in 'General Education' started by John Lee, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Nov 9, 2019

    Hi,
    I'm curious if anyone here would agree/disagree with this...

    I work at a school, where more than one teacher, has called on me to not teach things because it is something they (themselves) teach. Preface: IMO, these teachers are good teachers. I don't think they are bad teachers. But I've done a few things over the last few years, that they tell me that they don't want me to be teaching (my students move on to them). A few of them: not using school bought STEM materials "meant" for the upper grades (even though I teach "upper" grade myself 3rd). I did a Rube Goldberg unit in summer school--was told that it is part of 4th grade science and that I shouldn't teach it. I was told by 4th that we should run any Native American learning by them...

    I don't think they are trying to pick a fight or anything... and I am typically thick skinned when it comes to this sort of thing. i.e. If I learned that a teacher in a lower grade was teaching something I was planning on doing, I find that fine and dandy. I think doing it again will help them understand and apply even more.

    But honestly, this (to me) is nonsense and has me thinking of just leaving the school and moving to another. However, in doing so, I just wonder if this is something that is common of teachers... the idea that teachers have their "things", and that I would encounter the same issue if I went elsewhere.
     
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  3. Tired Teacher

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    I have some understanding of this. In certain areas, we have limited books and resources we are allowed to use. If the teacher before us uses them, we can be out of luck and run out of approved materials to use way before the year is over..
    I think you could encounter the same issue elsewhere. I try hard not to use the next grade levels stuff unless I have gifted kids in my class. If I need to, I go to the teachers and negotiate. Usually it is not an issue because the kid will be in a higher book the next yr.
    No one has ever told me not to do it, but I understand because 1 of the teachers in a lower grade has seen stuff I do, started using stuff I am supposed to teach, and makes it where I can't do it again even though it is in my level and standards. ( It is like she copies my activities even- I am sure you are not doing that! )
    I have never said anything about it, but it is a bummer for me at times. It would not be an issue if we had more resources available to us that "fit to our basic programs." I am not sure if your school works like that or not.
     
  4. Ima Teacher

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    We also work with limited materials. It was very frustrating to start a novel with a class only yo have half or more say they’ve read it already. Now, I don’t care if they’ve read it because we can do different stuff with it. However, the kids don’t like that.

    We try to avoid things we know other grade levels do.
     
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  5. RainStorm

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    Every public school I've worked in had certain novels that were for certain grades only (referring to whole group or small group instruction.) For example, Charlotte's Web was only taught in 3rd, and Ghost Cadet was only taught in 5th. This makes perfect sense. Nothing is more frustrating that teaching a grade-appropriate novel and finding out that half the students already read it as a part of a previous class. And we had limited materials to choose from, so it made sense to make sure that we got the most out of our materials.

    We also have always had certain things permitted to only certain grades. Greece and Rome were only taught in 3rd grade. Egypt was only taught in 2nd grade. Specific Native American tribes were only taught in 4th grade, because it was part of the required curriculum. It is incredibly hard to teach a required unit in 4th grade, for example, when half the students already learned about it in 2nd grade, and there are only so many materials available for doing it. Also, the half who have already learned it are bored, but the teacher still has to go over the material from the beginning for those who are new or who were in a different class.

    Later, in private school, we had certain things that were only done by specific grades. Rube Goldberg was only done by 7th grade. American History Wax Museum was only done by 5th grade. Thanksgiving Feast was only done by 2nd. The key here was to make those activities special. If every teacher decided to do a wax museum, for example, it would stop being a special program in 5th grade.

    We actually had a 2nd grade teacher for many years who insisted on teaching "the solar system" because she really enjoyed doing it. Each student did a report on a planet. The only problem was this was a required part of the curriculum in 3rd grade, which upset me as the 3rd grade science teacher. When it was time to teach this unit, students and parent inevitably complained that they had "already done this" last year. I was required to teach the basics of the solar system because there were new students who hadn't been in that 2nd grade class, and it was a nightmare trying to teach that unit. She absolutely refused to change, but when she left, we made sure the new teacher clearly understood this could not happen.

    So yes, this is a very common occurrence, and I think you should be respectful of the other teachers request, especially if they have a long-standing tradition, or a curriculum requirement.
     
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  6. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    No, actually it leads to boredom, because the teacher must go through it from the beginning (for the benefit of new students or students who weren't in that class) while the rest of the class, who already had it, are bored out of their minds. Some things, like science and social studies, specifically, are taught whole-group.

    These students who are bored, become behavior issues.

    It is not "fine and dandy."
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
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  7. John Lee

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    Chill out. I actually never mentioned reading a novel. But I have had (one of the aforementioned teachers) take exception to me using a "matchbook summary" activity, for a book (not the book they were intending to read). As mentioned, the other teacher didn't want me to do a Rube Goldberg activity, as if you can't do Rube Goldberg machines more than once. I one time did a STEM activity on the first day of school, that the 4th grade teacher then tried to do the following year (only to have my students tell her I did it with them last year). For some reason, she was upset that I had done that (as if she had a patent on it). These same teachers also questioned us (the 3rd grade teachers at the school) about what we did with our kids, as if they wanted to approve what we were doing.
     
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  8. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Your colleagues can shove it. You can teach whatever activity you want provided that it pertains to the curriculum and subject matter being taught. If another teacher at my job told me what I could and could not teach, then I would look them straight in the eye and say with complete seriousness, “Thank you, but I’ll teach what I want (within school/district policy and the law) and you’ll not have a say in anything that happens in my classroom. Make sure that you understand that well. Good day.”
     
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  9. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I'm with the other teachers on this, JohnLee. There is accidentally teaching something they are teaching the next year. Then there is purposely teaching the same thing. It is disrespectful to your co-workers, especially when it is their known "wow" start of the school year or part of their required standards.

    I disagree that it helps students. For advanced students who learn it the first time, it bores them. For mid learners, they tune it out thinking they know it because they heard it before. For the low kids, they may get some benefit from it, but it really depends how well they retained it from the year before or how much it requires being more mature to grasp the concepts.

    They asked you nicely to refrain. To ignore their request is just rude. If it isn't part of your standards, why can't you find something different to teach?
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

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    Eh, if they're not being jerks about, why not extend that professional courtesy?

    I've asked teachers to refrain from using activities that I use in my class. These are either activities that my department has traditionally used (for over 15 years) and first-year teachers in other departments think are "cool" so they use them even though they do not directly relate to their curriculum. Or activities that I've developed myself and have been passed along to teachers in my district. If they are things that it doesn't really matter if the kids see multiple times, I don't care. But if it takes away from my plans, or heck, ruins an "aha!" moment for me, I'll ask.
     
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  11. 2ndTimeAround

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    I just thought of an analogy that might help those that disagree with the OP's coworkers:

    Have you ever found/made THAT PERFECT Christmas gift for someone extremely special in your life? Something that fits them just so, and you cannot wait until Christmas morning for them to open it? And then two days before Christmas, a casual acquaintance gifts them the same thing at a work party?

    Maybe your version is a better model, or it's monogrammed. Doesn't matter. When your loved one comes home from the party they'll be excited and gush about their gift. and two days later, when they open yours, they'll be appreciative, but the reaction just won't be the same.

    Maybe your giftee could use two of the items. Wear one while the other is in the wash. Maybe there is some benefit to having two, even if it isn't necessary.

    Now, what if you overheard the coworker mention possibly getting that gift for your loved one. You speak up and say "Oh, please don't. I've already bought one for her and I've even had it monogrammed with her initials." And the other person says "hmmm, nah, I think it will be cool to give to her. I'm going to get one anyway."


    Or... you are known for bringing the upside down cake to all work potlucks. People mention it throughout the year. Someone new joins the staff, has your delicious cake at the back-to-school event in September. She sees how much everyone enjoys the cake too. In June, when people are taking about the end-of-year event, she mentions making an upside down cake. You speak up and say you bring that each time and others actually request that you bring it. She says "people can eat two if they want. You can always find something else to make."
     
  12. RainStorm

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    This comment is neither helpful nor constructive. It is quite offensive, actually. If you didn't want an honest response to your inquiry, you shouldn't have made it. Telling someone to "Chill out" because their opinion doesn't back you up is childish.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    :yeahthat:

    It does go along with the sentiment that the other teacher's can shove it.
     
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  14. Mr.history

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    Maybe this is only an issue at certain grades/subjects because from my perspective of what you described I wouldn't have said a word to someone for doing a similar activity. I teach middle school social studies and in the past high school social studies. Our curriculum can over lap quite a bit. (government and history or economics and history for instance) I can see if your following some preset curriculum for your school that you would be annoyed if someone did the exact same thing that they shouldn't have (a specific worksheet that is exactly the same) but for me I know someone else is going to teach the constitution so I create my own way to teach it when my kids get to that unit.
     
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  15. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Well, I don't ignore it. I've complied in all instances, but I honestly don't know why they take exception at all is my point. As mentioned, I used a craft where the kids make "matchbooks" out of index cards, for reading comprehension during the reading of a novel. The 5th grade teacher took issue with it, because (I guess) she thinks it is her thing. I found it on pinterest.

    I mentioned a few of the other instances above... in all instances, I don't know why I am the one in the wrong. I never said I read core novels that they read, nor do I teach material that they cover in 4th or 5th.
     
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  16. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Well, I do extend the courtesy because in all cases, I defer. But shouldn't they extend me the same courtesy? What you describe (about new teachers doing something you do because they think it is "cool"), isn't that what you want? For an example, I've set up a green screen and have done various things with it with my classes as well as the school. If another teacher chose to use it, I wouldn't take exception to it (in fact, I encourage it), that it would ruin a sense of wonderment for my students.
     
  17. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    If you read the comment I replied to, I thought it was as much curt & dismissive as it was constructive & wanting to be helpful.
     
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  18. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Agree completely. To use the example I've given earlier, I did a Rube Goldberg unit with my summer school class (of which, a small number go to my original school during the regular year). She told me not to teach it though, which I don't understand at all. 1) It was summer school 2) I taught them some science concepts and they created their machines. If she teaches it, those kids with experiences will simply be accessing it at a higher level, which should be fine! It is as if she wants everyone to be a blank slate, which makes no sense. This is a prime example of what I mean (proprietary).
     
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  19. 2ndTimeAround

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    No, if it is something like using a green screen, I wouldn't be bothered. That's an activity that can be used across different subjects and grades. And the content would be different as a result. But if it is a lab that can be used for different disciplines, and I use it in, let's say, physics, I would rather it not be used in biology and chemistry.

    I have created a review game that I won't share with others in my district. I'm purposefully being selfish because I know that others using it would reduce the novelty and not be as effective in my class. I even limit playing it in my own class to no more than four times per course so that kids keep responding well.
     
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  20. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    RainStorm, John told the other poster to chill out because you and a2z often seem standoffish. Yes, you have an opinion and you are 100% entitled to it and I absolutely value your opinion, but your posts *seem* to have a lot of attitude in them.

    I’m sorry if you don’t mean that at all and maybe I’m misreading them, but that is the way they come off to me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
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  21. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    LOL

    I had not yet responded to JohnLee when he told another poster to "Chill Out". Yet I am the reason for his comment? LOL :rofl:

    I never knew I had so much power. :D
     
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  22. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    If they have been doing it in the past and you start to do it, you are usurping their lesson whether or not you both found it on pinterest. You are stealing their thunder or so they say. Unintentionally, of course, but you are still doing it.

    I'm happy you complied.
     
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  23. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    ALL DUE RESPECT, because I don't want this thread dismissed. How am I stealing their thunder? Let me give a similar example. I have bought TONS of stuff on TPT. Does this mean that I have the lock on every one of the things I've used in my class? I bought one of those "collaborative" posters (where one kid colors one piece of it, and you put it together as a class and it becomes one big poster). TBH, I use this as a time-filler activity, though I do a lesson on it. Does this mean no one at my school can do this activity? Heck no, IMO.

    This is what I'm talking about. In the case of the Rube-Goldberg unit, who cares if I've introduced students to it? In the case of the matchbook summary, who cares if I do the activity--its a different book! If I do a first day of school, icebreaker activity (I found on pinterest)... I'm not trying to be obstinate or stubborn here... I guess my question has been answered (i.e. that I will encounter this sort of attitude wherever I go).

    For my part: I could care less what other teachers do, as long as they prepare the kids for the next grade. Teach it however you like!
     
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  24. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Nov 10, 2019

     
  25. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    It is most likely how they feel. They have done something for years that was new to their students. You come along and do the same or very similar thing earlier so that when the students arrive to their classroom, the lesson is no longer new to the students. It is just another go around of the same kind of thing. That is stealing their thunder.

    Others have given this example with other situations such as a novel. I know you didn't use the same novel, but that idea can transfer to other lessons. And 2ndTime gave a fantastic example of a non-school related example of someone stealing someone else's thunder.

    If you don't understand how you are doing the same thing. I don't know what else to tell you.
     
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  26. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Even as a math teacher, it’s frustrating when kids come in knowing standards that they shouldn’t know yet.

    For example, students begin dividing whole numbers by unit fractions in 5th grade. They should only use models but a bunch of grade 5 teachers teach the rule “keep change flip.” This was really rushed and the kids don’t understand why it works. Anytime my students see two fractions (even if it’s multiplying or equivalent fractions) they want to keep change flip. And in 6th grade, we do two weeks of models before we are supposed to have them discover the rule!

    We also have grade 2 teachers who teach adding with stacking when they are supposed to use a # line until 4th grade! So I understand why the teachers at your school do not want anyone else to teach these units.
     
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  27. TeacherNY

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    Ok, finding an activity on Pinterest is not STEALING the idea from them (the teacher who complained about this needs to chill out). That's just ridiculous. If it wasn't supposed to be used it wouldn't be on Pinterest. That's just petty. I would think if you were following your grade's curriculum then you would be able to teach anything related to that curriculum. I'm not sure why there's so much overlap if you're teaching what you're supposed to in your grade.
     
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  28. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I've had to change a couple of activities that I typically do with my Grade 7 class (Choose Your Own Adventure digital stories is one example) because the Grade 6 teachers have started to do them. I'm a bit disappointed, but I'm getting over it; I'm just not as willing to share with those teachers who have the kids a year before I do as I once was.

    As far as curriculum being "taught" early; I notice it more with kids who go to Kumon or other similar programs. They come in knowing the "tricks" or short cuts, but have no understanding of the why behind them. They don't appreciate that I shut them down and make them go back and learn the way so that they can apply those short cuts appropriately.
     
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  29. Ms.Holyoke

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    Yep! I have this same problem too. How do you shut them down?
     
  30. a2z

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    I find it equally ridiculous to be upset that you were asked to stop teaching what someone else has been doing for a long time so that the kids are able to keep the novelty of the lesson.

    I guess it depends on where people view their focus and their relationship with others. I would feel bad that I stepped on someone else's toes who had been doing the same or very similar lesson for a while. If we just so happened to do it for the first time that one year, that is a different situation. But if that is something they have been doing, I see it as theirs.
     
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  31. TeacherNY

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    As long as the content is different why is it "their" lesson? If that were the case only one teacher in the whole school would be able to do an interactive notebook? Or use certain manipulatives? If they created the activity then I say let them have it but if it's easily accessible on the internet then it's free for everyone.
     
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  32. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    One of two things usually works:
    - I tell them that we aren't "there yet", but we'll get there.
    - I ask them to explain to me why their shortcut works. If they can, I let them use it right away; if they can't, they need to go through the steps with us.

    One of my assessment questions is always involves the explanation of the "why".
     
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  33. John Lee

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    This exactly!
     
  34. ecteach

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    Is what you're teaching on the curriculum for your grade? If so, I'd teach it.
     
  35. TeacherNY

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    Yes, I wouldn't teach curriculum specifically designated for another grade. If some things overlap then it's not really the OPs fault.
     
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  36. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Is it in your standards to cover? Then do it. If not, then leave it to the grade that is supposed to cover it. I understand their issue.

    BUT I also understand the part where you hate being told what NOT to do by other teachers.
     
  37. Linguist92021

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    I know you didn't say novel, but for example, if I was teaching a novel, and it was a great suspense building up to the end of it, I would hate that half of the kids would know how it ended.
    One year we read Lord of the Flies, and as we know, one of the beloved characters, Piggy dies at the end. A couple of the kids either watched the movie or read ahead and started saying things. I seriously had to "threaten" them not to say anything because then the rest of the class would miss out on a big part of the book.
     
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  38. TeacherNY

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    I agree. When I taught ELA in a middle school there were specific books designated for each grade. If a teacher wanted to use a different book they had to get permission from the head of the department. I"m assuming they wouldn't allow a book to be used by that teacher if it would be read by another grade's teacher.
    I
     
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  39. mojtaba khodakhah

    mojtaba khodakhah New Member

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    Nov 16, 2019 at 2:48 AM

    thanks a lot
     

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