June 05, 2006 1 min read

Every teacher has likely been saved, at one time or another, by lesson plans that come from somewhere other than his or her own head —the Internet, a teachers’ guide, another teacher. But when the source is a close colleague, things can get dicey. Junior High School Teacher recently blogged about the frustration she felt when another teacher—who had been a student teacher in her own classroom a few years ago—commandeered key parts of a beloved poetry unit (right down to the same poems as examples) to use in her class. Then, when the 7th grade students from that teacher’s class got to JHS Teacher’s 8th grade class the next year, they complained that they’d already done the unit. JHS poses this very valid question:

How do we go about differentiating between ripping off another teacher's lessons, and sharing our expertise? I know I've used things almost word-for-word I've found on-line or which other teachers have given me. I'm also quite perturbed right now about my poetry unit. Where do you draw the line? Should there be a line?

Sounds like a good issue for teachers to puzzle over during the summer months.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.