It is a worthy axiom of life.

Here’s a tip.

New teachers enter the classroom with heads full of what turns out to be unrealistic, untested ideals.  They often carry in with them a winds of new ideas.  Full of new and different perspectives on what may become mundane and routine.  They can’t help but share all of their new ideas and technology with all of those with whom they interact.  Sometimes to curry favor with peers and administrators, other times to “help out” a colleague. Great.

This strategy has built into its DNA the seeds of its own destruction.  In this situation, seasoned teachers may gravitate to some of these new tools and pick through them like a third grade prize box . . . pulling out only the best ideas to implement in their classroom.  Still, good.

When all of the seasoned teachers attempt to apply the new technology, one of three things occur: 1) The apply the technology without a full grasp of its real potential; 2) they apply the new technology without a full grasp of the limitations; 3) they apply the same technology tool their colleagues are and in the same slipshod manner.

Any of these will cause a problem for students and their learning community, but in concert they mean disaster and loss of instructional time and energy.

It is for this reason that I hold on to a new idea before rolling it out to colleagues.  This gives me time to master procedures in my particular classroom and with my curriculum and academic objectives.  I get to work out the kinks and then I can show my colleagues A) What it is; B) How it works; C) How I apply it; and, D) What the limitations are.

Timing of the roll-out is important.  Giving myself time to delve into the “Next Big Thing” before I let everyone else in on the tool I have developed allows a competitive edge.  Consider that my students take seven other classes during the school week.  If they encounter a new tool used in ineffective and incorrect ways in all seven other classes, their eyes will glaze over when they use it in my class.

I want every precious moment my students have with me to be focused and well-directed toward deep understanding of objectives.  Holding a tool in reserve is a good strategic move in keeping students interested and engaged.