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Tall Poppy Syndrome

February 9, 2014 by Mrs Hurley   

How can a school encourage and foster a sharing culture properly? Can it even be done properly? Will there always be those couple of ‘old school’ teachers in there, ready to chop down any “new” ideas?

I was asked recently to present something short at a staff meeting after my AP had walked into my room and saw my kids doing Teach/OK as part of us working on Whole Brain Teaching this year. She was really excited about it and, to be honest, so was I because my kids have been fantastic with it so far!

So, I enthusiastically brought along my ideas to staff meeting. I was shoved to the end of staff meeting as more pressing admin matters needed to be discussed. I get it. Anyway, I was told I had 30 seconds to present as the meeting was almost overtime.

I gave my hurried explanation and despite my time restrictions, I feel as though I was still able to convey my enthusiasm about Whole Brain Teaching and what it can do for students.

I was then spoken about behind my back in the staff room because I’m not the only one who uses WBT in the classroom. Nor did I ever claim to be.

The point is, this happens far too often. I’m asked to share something (whether I already do it or I’ve learned it on a PD day), I’m really enthusiastic about it, I try to ramp it up to whoever I’m sharing with and I get shut down. Or, at least, no one shares my enthusiasm.

I went to a Handwriting and Spelling PD because I really had no idea how to run a spelling program. I came back with many ideas, shared them with a teacher and was told “Oh yeah, that’s been around for ages!”

How can we encourage a sharing culture in schools? What things are essential for new teachers to know? How can they get this information so that 3 years later, they’re not still looking for it?


  1. Mrs. Y♥llis says:

    Dear Katy,

    I can tell you, it happens in schools all over the world. Not sure why. We foster a love a learning with our students and love when *they* share and learn with one another, but something breaks down between teachers. I still experience it and I’ve been in the classroom for 27 years.

    I really like this blog post about Change and the Giving Up of Ego by @mosspike

    There is a lot of change happening in education, especially with so much tech integration going on. It’s hard for people.

    Don’t let it get you down. Share when you can, continue to be gracious to others, and get involved with Twitter. I find Twitter to be a wonderful place for sharing and learning. It’s an open, virtual staff room full of supportive people!

    Have a lovely day!


    • Miss Fraser says:

      Hi Linda,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment!
      I guess you would, having been in education for so long, have seen so many changes and new ideas coming and going. It’s probably easy to forget about certain ways of doing things (particularly when you aren’t doing the same thing over and over each year – nor should you be) until someone brings them up again.
      I use Twitter but lately I’ve been a little disconnected with it – coming back into the game slowly. So hard to keep up with everything! I do try sharing and asking questions on Twitter – sometimes the lack of replies (except for favouriting) becomes disheartening too.
      Without wanting to sound like a “know-it-all”, I know that the way forward in education is through connecting, collaborating and sharing with educators from across the globe.
      Sorry for the delayed response! Hope to speak to you again soon.
      Katelyn 🙂

      • Mrs. Y♥llis says:

        Dear Katelyn,

        Thanks for the reply.

        Yes, it is very difficult to keep up on Twitter! Sometimes I have so many tabs open from a Twitter chat or from a morning on Twitter, and I just have to close them. I have concluded that I won’t be able to keep up! It is very liberating! Instead, I narrow my focus and pick something I want to incorporate into my classroom and work on that for awhile. For example, I just picked up on a nonfiction news site called @newsela that I have been using this week.

        Some of the ways that help me sort through Twitter I’ve learned over time. To make Twitter meaningful to me, I have column/filters set up via TweetDeck. There are certain people i follow and they have their own column. Or, I group people who contribute a lot. I also try to connect with people by using their name in my tweet to bring them into my learning.

        You sound like a wonderful teacher with a lot of knowledge and enthusiasm. That’s what kids need and that is where the focus should be.

        Have enjoyed connecting with you!


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