We all know about Englipedia, right? I mean, weâ€™ve all been here for at least eleven months at this point, so I canâ€™t imagine Iâ€™m popping anyoneâ€™s monocle by talking about it. If you didnâ€™t know about it until nowâ€¦good for you, I guess? Welcome to the cheatersâ€™ table.
Except is it cheating? I donâ€™t know. I really donâ€™t. Certainly, it canâ€™t be that bad to just look up lesson ideas on there, can it? Just to get the benefit of shared wisdom? Isnâ€™t it irresponsible to NOT take a gander at what other people have done when teaching the same grammar points just in case theyâ€™re better at this than I am? Donâ€™t my students deserve that?
Yes. Yes, they do. But that is different from taking a worksheet wholesale from the site.
If youâ€™re like me, you get an uneasy feeling whenever you steal use one of their worksheets, but then I get an uneasy feeling when I take a number to wait in line at the bank. I think I just need to adjust to being an adult.
And itâ€™s not stealing in the most basic sense as whoever first designed the worksheet still has what they made, itâ€™s just that now I have it too. Itâ€™s more akin to sharing and people always tell me that thatâ€™s good. And they put it up in the first place, so clearly they wanted me to have itâ€“ itâ€™s like when people leave stuff out on the street for others to take, and thatâ€™s how I got like half the stuff I own.
Could one claim it was like stealing in an intellectual property sense? Maybe. Iâ€™m using someone elseâ€™s creation in a commercial context. I am being paid for deploying someone elseâ€™s brainchild. But Iâ€™m not fluffing my plume with borrowed feathers as no one has said ever. I donâ€™t claim the worksheets as my own if the teachers ask (they very seldom do). However, I am loathe to reveal their source; I donâ€™t want them to know that most of my ideas are available online and just how eminently replaceable I really am. If they started reading the texts into one of those apps that make you sound like Prince Charles, I doubt the students would even notice Iâ€™m missing.
I think one of the reasons I feel like Iâ€™m cheating is because Iâ€™ve already prided myself as being creative and thus believe that I should be able to make such things on my own. On the other hand, Iâ€™ve also always prided myself as being someone who enjoys playing PokÃ©mon and using Englipedia worksheets gives me more time to do that of an evening, so to which side of myself should I be true?
Of course, the teachers get a great deal of their material from a book; theyâ€™re always using the same source which they didnâ€™t write. They go to conferences and swap ideas and their versions of the textbook have the answers written in them. And I highly doubt that they all developed the same rules and catchphrases for â€œSimon Saysâ€ independently. On top of this, the more established teachers have a ready-made bag of tricks from which to pull a lesson or a fill-in-the-blanks. My mother taught Spanish for forty years and used the same worksheets and classroom materials again and again, year after year only changing if one of the actors sheâ€™d cut out of a magazine died. And yet, for some reason, I feel I should be held to a higher standard. Or, perhaps more accurately, I fear I am duty-bound to a higher standard because of the sweetness of my life: Iâ€™m not made to do many of the things that make a teacherâ€™s life truly awful, surely I should at least make my own worksheets?
Englipedia certainly makes my job easier and my job is already pretty easy and it may elicit a token twinge of guilt in me, but I still use their worksheets all the time. I never really planned to stop: Iâ€™m not doing anything illegal or even against the description of my job and it saves me time. I mostly wrote this article as a way of assuaging some of the pangs. In this case, as per usual, feeling uneasy is a waste of time and energyâ€“ as my lawyer keeps telling me, â€œbad vibes are not admissible in courtâ€ and also â€œyou didnâ€™t have an umbrella when you came in.â€