Blog Post – Sharing is Caring
By Guest Blogger Victor Kass
When I broke into the teaching ranks in 2006, I never imagined how important sharing is within our profession. As a newbie, I figured I would be constructing most of my lessons and assessments from scratch and, as a result, the first few years would be pretty exhausting. But, that was okay. I knew what I was getting myself into and was mentally prepared. So, I was surprised to learn that I would be working with a bunch of amazing colleagues who were not just happy to share their resources, but made a point of telling me that I did not have to “reinvent the wheel”. This was a surprising relief and did wonders to lower my stress levels. Yet, there was just one catch. I was to share back, which I was more than happy to do.
Fast forward 7 years. New technological innovations, such as Cloud-based storage, tablets and phones equipped with high-quality cameras, and social networks have changed the face of teaching and learning. My resource sharing network, in what felt like a night, expanded from within my immediate school community to the entire world! In the summer of 2013, I discovered the power of Twitter as a tool to connect with other Physical Educators from all corners of the globe. It quickly became my most important professional development tool. Self-directed PD literally was within the palm of my hand and accessible anytime. For the first while, I mostly kept to the sidelines. I read numerous discussions, checked out resources posted by other teachers, read blogs, and took part in the occasional twitter chat. I learned more during that one summer about Physical Education topics, such as how to use technology to assess skill development and sport education to enhance leadership skills, than I had over all of my prior years of teaching. It was mind blowing! What followed were two years of some of the most intense learning I had experienced since my days as a University student, but it was even more fun!
As I entered my 10th year of teaching this Fall, I decided that it was time for me to take on a lead role and begin to give back. My most important goal of the 2015-2016 school year was and is to share more. It began as a simple plan in which to tweet one experience per week for each of the 3 PE classes I am teaching this semester. I also encouraged my students and their parents to follow me on Twitter. This would, as a secondary goal, provide the community in which I work a window into my classroom. I should also add that sharing the images, videos, and information about what happens in Physical Education at my school is an important form of advocacy for a subject area that does not always get the most credit.
What started as one tweet per week has evolved into much more. I have found that doing this is not just about sharing, but also allows me to discuss these resources with others and think critically about ways to improve my practice further. Needless to say, there have been many more tweets than one per week. I have also found myself looking at ways to share my knowledge in other ways outside the cyber world. For example, I recently ran a workshop to teach colleagues in my school about Google Classroom, which is my favourite online learning platform. It is here that I must give a shout out to Alice Keeler whose Blog has taught me so many tricks of the trade in Google. She is a prime example of someone who has taken sharing to a supreme level. Thus, it was an honour when she asked me to write a blog post for her.
Looking ahead, the possibilities within my career seem endless. It’s tricky to imagine what teaching will be like in another 10 years, but I do know one thing, I will continue to evolve my practice and it will be awesome! Wherever the road takes me, there will always be one important and powerful constant. Sharing is caring.
Victor Kass is a high school Physical Education teacher in Brampton, Ontario, Canada