The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A random rant of frustration

So, in writing up these units for reproduction, I am finding one really frustrating thing about trying to package and reproduce my teaching...

See, these are units/lessons that I already have that I taught last year and/or the year before, but all I am doing is taking all the resources and writing up the instructions and procedures. Here is the frustrating part....

If you are a teacher, you probably know the beauty of the internet and the millions of teaching resources that are out there. I feel no need to reinvent the wheel. I know for certain that no skill that I am teaching is new, because I teach it as a result of there being state/national standards saying that students should learn it. This means that lots of teachers before me have taught this stuff, and a lot of them have found/created great ways of doing it, so why should I bother recreating it? All I bascially do is teach it creatively the way I want and feel will work best, but for me, this usually involves the compilation of many resources that are already out there. In the teaching world today, for the most part, this isn't really seen as stealing- teachers wouldn't put their resources out there if they didn't want other people to use them- but rather sharing best practices. We are all in it for the same thing- so that the students will learn, thus, when it comes to copying and using for educational purposes, pretty much everything is fair game. If something has a copyright on it, I always leave it when I copy it, but that's pretty much all the crediting that needs to get done.

I also love to use news articles, opinion pieces, advertisements, etc., in my teaching too, and when using these things, I basically just print the page and be sure to leave on the author's name, date, website/news source, etc.

Now, however... I am finding I have to be really careful how I use these resources. I can still use them, but because the unit has a title page with my name on it, I cannot put word for word instructions from someone else's lesson in my lesson plan. That would be plagiarism. I am not really using anything word for word anyway, but there are some great handouts and stuff from NCTE's ReadWriteThink resources that I am using,so I have to be sure to give proper credit. Suddenly, I am having to really cite all of my sources, and getting it right feels so much more significant that getting it right on a college paper did. I mean, this is going to be marketed to all of the international studies schools network, so I cannot get caught plagiarizing. I really have to give credit where credit is due, and when suggesting news articles or opinion pieces for teachers to use, I actually have to be sure I have properly cited where they are from... no printing random pages.

Because this is all stuff I have done before... this means going and finding all the sources for all the stuff I already use. Time consuming and no fun.

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