I trained at a school where each teacher planned and resourced their own lessons. Every teacher was teaching the same topic, yet each individually planned a scheme of work and delivered a range of lessons. And they were so territorial about their lessons. Worksheets were not shared. Lesson plans were not emailed around with a cheery ‘Hope this helps!’ Every man for themselves.
When I was employed at my first school, the department shared everything. Lessons, worksheets, ideas and links were shared by email, in department meetings and over cups of tea in the staff room. It was a breath of fresh air.
It struck me, having seen both sides of the coin, how silly my training school was. It was clear to me that by refusing to share like a petulant child, each teacher may have thought that they were protecting their intellectual property, not letting anyone take credit for the work they had so laboriously created. But in fact, their behaviour could only have a negative impact on themselves and their students.
Here’s why I think departmental sharing is so important:
It means that teaching is consistent within the department.
If students in multiple classes are being taught the same thing (with individual flair, of course), they are receiving the same training in skills for the exam; it creates a common language that can be shared across students and teaching staff, which in turn should help to create a standard across your students.
It shares the workload.
What is the point in every member of a department using their time to plan and resource the same lesson? Why should every member of a department read the same text, analyse it, organise it into a scheme of work and deliver it when the exact same task has been completed by the teacher in the next classroom? Contributing to planning means that everyone benefits from the time that is saved, leaving more time to tick off other tasks on the to-do list or spend some well-earned time doing something you love.
It builds team bonds and spirit.
Working together toward a shared goal means that there is a team target and a team goal. The satisfaction of achieving that goal is shared by the team and this, in turn, should make the team more positive too! Helping one another means that there is a ‘give-and-take’ attitude and this should mean that collectively the department can work as one to support their students.
It makes each teacher a better teacher.
Seeing the work of others gives you new ideas and strategies to try, widening your toolbox across all of your classes. It also means that you are being challenged and developed as you teach. You’ll be able to use some of these ideas with other year groups or classes. Your department is a wealth of experience. Yes, a teacher that has been teaching for ten years will have lots of different strategies, but an NQT will have new and exciting ideas to contribute too, keeping lesson fresh and innovative.
It doesn’t matter where it comes from, it’s how it is delivered.
Some resources and strategies will come from a teacher in your department; some will be brought from a new colleague from a previous school; some might come from our very own Twinkl resources. Wherever they come from, the result is the same: that your students are being taught and prepared for their exams and for the world after school.
Subscribe to Twinkl from as little as £5 per month, giving you access to a range of resources. That’s £5 for as many resources as you can download with no limit! A bargain and a time-saver all in one! If you want to see what we offer first, sign up for a free Twinkl account here and take a look around at our free resources.