Teachers Pay Teachers.
For most of my career, I have believed that we should give "for free" the work that we do. I have felt a moral obligation to share the cooperative, collaborative lessons, videos and artifacts that we have created together as grade level teachers and as a school. I still feel like that. When time is given during the school day for teachers to collaborate, imagine and develop ideas and artifacts, I really do feel like we have no other choice than to share when we learn together with anyone that is interested. For most years, our school was able to give teachers common planning time to meet and discuss and visit with each other. We were able to carve out time to collaborate every week and then also had time for full days of study. There is no question that the time given to us on such a regular basis, shaped my thinking and all that I did for years.
However, as budgets have tightened and as RtI has sucked up every free minute, that time to collaborate has dried up. Teacher planning time is at an all time low. Common planning time became non-existent last year for the first time - and our school held on to it long after others had to give it up. The few minutes that co-teachers could discuss the day and make changes to afternoon plans after the morning while they grabbed something to eat were eliminated when teachers had to supervise lunch and recess duty at our school. Professional development now has to be scheduled during after school meetings that run until 5:00 - something our school never had to do before... but is within the contract. Up until last year, the school could hire substitutes to carve out time for professional development - for teachers to collaborate and write authentic lessons and experiences, but last year the number of days that a teacher could take for professional development became limited. Understand - I have a Principal that has stretched every dollar and who held sacred our collaborative planning for as long as she could. So... the bottom line is that we no longer enjoy collaborative, cooperative time to imagine and dream. What few minutes we can grab are spent on management and safety - our most basic needs.
That doesn't mean that teachers don't still collaborate, but now it's over the phone while fixing dinner or on Saturday mornings when they grab a cup of coffee together or it's through e-mail or even Facebook! But... it's off the clock. So as I have developed more materials in the vacuum of my own home, I have become less committed to offering the materials for free... The time to create is taken out of my own time which is very different than the artifacts we once created on the school's time together. I won't add information about teacher salaries remaining the same over the years... that's another post!
Kevin Henkes Author Study that I have rewritten with the Common Core in mind and a Kevin Henkes Vocabulary to go along with it. This is absolutely some of my best work. These resources are linked to many other resources that we have collaborated to produce and are still housed FOR FREE on our grade level wiki. I hope that you will visit the store and let me know what you think!
P.S. - Don't you love the artwork? It was done by second grader, Lexie Holtsman (daughter of Chets Creek teacher Melanie Holtsman). Wouldn't surprise me if she becomes a famous artist some day!