Beg, Borrow & Steal

As a teacher in today’s age, and working at a 1-to-1 school, I am constantly using my creative juices to develop lessons and activities that will best reach the learners in my class. I tend to be the type of educator who sways away from the textbook and instead creates “fun” activities that build strong connections between math and real life. Teaching in this manner takes a lot of extra time, effort, and energy but is well worth every second of it.  

Over the course of my 17 years of teaching, I have become familiar with the saying “beg, borrow and steal’, just as most teachers have. As a profession, we are great at sharing our ideas with others, but also love to borrow or steal when we find something good that has been created by someone else.  

In recently trying to get my head wrapped around the legalities of digital resources, this has become a bit of a concern to me. I still don’t truly understand all of the rights of academic institutions versus individuals, even after reading this article titled Intellectual Property Rights, but I do know that someday I will be exploring other regions of the world as an educator and would really love to take everything that I have created with me. Who owns it? Do I or does the school I work at when I created it? Who would have ever thought that our world, our education system, would get to this point one day?  

I feel very strongly that I am the owner of my own creations. All of them have come from MY brainpower, MY time, MY creativity, and MY energy, therefore they are MINE. And as with most educators, I am willing to share everything I have ever created, at absolutely no cost, thus the reason I post most of my creative lessons/activities on my blog … so please help yourself.  

Since most educators are already familiar with the phrase “beg, borrow, and steal”, and most of us actually do this, it is shocking to hear that some teachers actually sell their lessons for cash. (NOTE: There have even been songs written about begging, borrowing and stealing – check out this video of the New Seekers in the 70’s). YouTube Preview Image When searching on the web for ideas to use in my classroom, I am constantly diverted to Teachers Pay Teachers, a website which allows teachers to post lessons and/or activities for a cost. And recently, I came across this article in the New York Times titled Selling Lessons Online Raises Cash and Questions. It makes an absolutely brilliant point – that when teachers sell their lessons, it “reduces the power of the learning community and is ultimately destructive to the profession.” We, ultimately, need to pull together as a profession and help one another be the best teachers we can be.