ASTHE SCHOOL YEAR ENDS, you're probably reflecting on what went well and what you want to work on over the summer. Even with all the challenges this year- including budget cuts, testing fixation, and pressure to do more witJi less- no doubt you still managed to develop lots of terrific lesson plans, and think about what you might do differendy next year.
Wouldn't it be great if there were a trusted place where you could share your best lessons, resources and activities with colleagues across the country- and to find their best work?
With your help, there soon will be.
The AFT is partnering with TSL Education-host of die world's largest online network of teachers- to provide such a platform. This won't be an online warehouse but a real network for teachers to share ideas and assume responsibility for the quality and usefulness of those materials. This is a need expressed repeatedly by our members. We are asking teachers like you to provide the content so it becomes a vital resource.
I have talked with educators from coast to coast and seen firstiiand the successful education practices in Finland; Japan; Ontario, Canada; Shanghai, China; and Singapore as well as in the United States. A stark difference between our educational practices and theirs is that U.S. teachers are commonly assigned a classroom and told to figure things out: sink or swim. There's little, if any, time built in for teachers to confer or collaborate, to share resources, to problem-solve or to brainstorm.
This new online network will provide teachers a way to connect with colleagues across die country and an easy, trusted, no-cost way to share ideas.
I would have loved to have had a resource like this when I was teaching. Like most new teachers, I struggled to develop lesson plans and find great materials. And, like most experienced teachers, once I had taught for several years, I had carefully honed lessons that I would have been happy to share with colleagues. Experienced teachers helping their newer colleagues is important, but master teachers have told me that they too will benefit: They are always seeking the growth- the spark of fresh ideas- that only comes from connecting with fellow teachers.
Too much of teachers' work is shaped and controlled by people far from the classroom. A profession is measured by how standards are upheld, by how quality is advanced, by how knowledge is spread- not …