Some people might take this as a bit of a stirring, controversial post. Please don’t, it’s not meant to be. It’s just a… musing, written on the train home from a fantastic Language World conference at the University of Lancaster.
During a fair number of the presentations, and even during mingling times, the word sharing kept cropping up. “Ooh, would you mind sharing that with me”, “Could you share that, please” and even during my own session the mantra that I keep having to remind myself of, “sharing is awesomeness”. But in all honesty, sharing does make our worlds easier. Let’s not all become clones of each other, let’s imitate, maybe, but develop and then reshare.
But it got me thinking. Contrary to many people’s opinions of me, I am genuinely quite a fretter when it comes to sharing my resources. Are people going to find fault? I’m notoriously bad at self-checking, so are people going to tut when they find linguistic errors? Am I laying myself open to the world, not quite for ridicule, but…
Yet without sharing we’re all fighting the same individual battle, yet never actually managing to win it. Sadly I don’t think with teaching there is a “win”- there’s always something else to do, to develop or to respond to. But given that we do need to keep doing those things, why not help each other by sharing that bit more? My new Head Teacher is encouraging us to have an open doors, supportive atmosphere in school where peer observations are positive learning experiences designed to help each other to feel more confident and to improve as practitioners. At first I found it terrifying. I was genuinely nervous, in fact I spent a weekend after my first one gripped my anxiety until I received the feedback on the Monday morning. Now I relish hearing my colleagues’ advice, even when things hadn’t necessarily gone as I would have hoped.
I think sharing needs to be the same. If you’ve never shared, please have a think over Easter of something that you’ve done this term that you’re proud of. And share it. Post it onto your blog, or put it in a Dropbox folder and share it on Twitter, or even just get onto MFL Resources or the TES. But, in these days where we’re devoid of official structures of support, let’s not cut ourselves and our departments off as well. It might be terrifying first time round, but it will soon feel immensely gratifying and far less anxiety-provoking. You never know, you might just enjoy it.
So when I’ve finished the unit that I’m currently teaching on Mexico (I blogged about it before I started- the students are devising their own Mexican characters and will decide whether or not to cross the border into the US) I will blog about it all and share all of the resources. That probably won’t be until nearly half term, but if you fancy, when I get to it, please please download them, use them and improve them and give me some advice. As my dear friend and colleague, David Fawcett, said to me last week in Madrid, it's the law of “Can I do it that little bit better?”.