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You’re Not That Amazing – Learn to Steal

When I first started teaching back over twenty years ago, I was so excited about lesson planning. I had these great ideas that I was just waiting to implement, and I felt that I didn’t need any advice from anybody. I was so dumb.

What I’ve learned over the years, however, is that I’m not that amazing. Yes, I consider myself creative and innovative. Yes, I come up with some pretty cool activities. Yes, I think I can keep my students engaged with some interesting lessons, but what I had to admit was that there are other teachers out there who were equally innovative and who had even more creative ways to teach what I’m teaching.

That was a tough lesson to learn.

I remember sitting in a department meeting and sharing my latest great idea on how to teach a particular part of my curriculum, when another teacher told me what she does to teach the same concept. Her idea was so much better. It was there when a voice in my head said, “Sam, you’re not that amazing.”

So after I got over that realization, I asked myself, “So Sam,what are you going to do now?”

One word came to mind.


I stole that teacher’s idea. I really did.

I modified it a little, but it wasn’t my lesson, and you know what? That’s OK.

Some of my best lessons are those which I have stolen from other teachers, and there are a few of my lessons being used by other teachers as well.

One important lesson that new teachers should learn is how to steal other teachers’ great lessons.

Unfortunately, we don’t get together enough as teachers to share ideas or successful lessons. Our extra time is often used for parent conferences or school-wide meetings.

That’s why new teachers should be proactive and ask the more veteran teachers about their successful lessons…

And steal them.

You’ll learn why these lessons are successful, and soon you’ll be creating valuable lessons that other teachers will want to steal.

I recently had to learn that you’re-not-that-amazing lesson again. I’ve had this site, for over a year now, but I’ve been blogging about my tips for new new teachers for only about three months. In those months, I’ve been sharing my experiences and advice, and feeling pretty good about the information I was offering.

Then I started checking out other teaching blogs.

Again the voice in my head said to me, “Sam, you’re not that amazing.”

I found some great teacher bloggers out there who have been sharing their advice to new teachers for a long time, and I’ve been really impressed with what they have to offer. I don’t plan on stealing their post, of course, but I do want to share their insights with my visitors. I wish I had the Internet when I first started teaching. New teachers have so many great resources available to them at the click of a mouse.

Some of my favorites teachers online include: Dustin from TeacherTipster, Elona from Teachers At Risk, Pooky from  the Creative Education Blog, Pat from Successful Teaching, Joel from So You Want To Teach, and Pernille from Blogging through the Fourth Dimension,  among others. Take a look at what these amazing teachers have to offer.



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  1. Pat's Gravatar Pat
    December 13, 2010    

    Thanks for mentioning me and I’m so glad you like my blog! But I don’t really see it as stealing. I see it more as recycling! 🙂 And if I work with that teacher to make it better for my students, we call it collaborating! By doing this, it kept me from burning out and helping me to focus on the things I needed to focus on. Great post!

    • Sam's Gravatar Sam
      December 13, 2010    

      Thanks Pat,
      I like the words recycling and collaborating. I think if I was given more opportunities to collaborate in those early years of teaching, I would have been a better teacher earlier in my career. It wasn’t a priority back then. I think that is changing, however. Thanks again.

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