Advice for co-teaching?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by NewbieTeachr, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. NewbieTeachr

    NewbieTeachr Rookie

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    Jun 26, 2009

    This fall I will be teaching in a private Christian school grades 1 and 2 and also with another teacher. It is not a para or a special ed teacher, we are BOTH responsible for the entire classroom. The reason we are co-teaching is because the classroom is a bit larger than what the school is used to.

    I was wondering if anyone had any experience co-teaching to give me any advice on how it works.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Jun 26, 2009

    Personally, I can't stand co-teaching in this manner. I did it for a few years, and was so glad to switch back to self-contained. I really enjoyed the teacher I co-taught with, and we were really compatable, so it wasn't bad in that way. Some teachers had horrible experiences because of classroom management or personality conflicts.

    I think the hardlest part is that you can't both really be completely responsible, and yet, you are held totally accountable when you don't have a way to make things work the way you want or need them to.

    For instance, I am incredibly punctual. If I'm late to pick up kids from resource, you can be assured there has been some horrendous accident! It just doens't happen. My co-teacher was not so punctual and it drove me nuts! Or she'd just decide she was done even though the scheduled time wasn't over for 15 minutes, and would expect me to jump in with the next activity early. This left me not quite set-up sometimes, and it was frustrating.

    We were really in-synce with classroom management, but there were some differences that were hard to deal with. She believed in punishing children by taking away their recess. I personally believe that students (especially ADHD students) need the time to run around and blow off steam or they are even harder to deal with later in the afternoon. I also hated when she'd take away music or art as a punishment. I just don't think that is right. The art and music teacher had a curriculum to teach as well, and they couldn't do it with 10 students missing because they didn't take an AR test!

    I just really hated the constant "flexibility" that is required. We basically split things up by topic (she did reading and writing, I did math, science, and social studies) and this worked really well. Once I got her to understand that she simply HAD to stay on schedule, we got along fine.

    My best advice in co-teaching is this -- run! Sorry, but it really is how I feel. It is a concept that sounds great in theory, but never (or almost never) works out that way in reality.
     
  4. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jun 26, 2009

    Yikes! Co-teaching would NEVER work for me--I need to be in control of everything that's going on in my classroom. Good luck, NewbieTeachr!!!
     
  5. melissa803

    melissa803 Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2009

    I've had positive experiences with it! I've been a reading specialist and co taught LA blocks. Is the other teacher not new to the school? My advice would be take some time to get to know the other teacher. I felt very successful in classroom where the teacher and I knew each other well. Maybe call her and go out to lunch over the summer. Find out what her favorite subjects to teach, her behavior expectations. It may be that you take turns leading and supporting. I've known a few people I would love the opportunity to co-teach with because I think I could learn from them (like they have a different style or mastery in a certain subject) and we get along well.

    Good luck!
     
  6. noreenk

    noreenk Cohort

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    Jun 28, 2009

    I co-taught with the resource teacher last year, and it was wonderful... BUT he had all the issues RainStorm experienced the year before. To try to avoid that, before the school year started we sat down and talked about a mutually-agreeable classroom management plan, focusing heavily on what we thought were acceptable/unacceptable rewards and consequences so we would be on the same page once we were in the classroom. We also planned out some of our curriculum for the year, like read alouds and our special election unit. Initially, it was hard balancing who would do what, but after awhile we were able to figure out each other's strengths, so I would do the daily warmup and teach the main math lesson, then he would take over for problem solving. He was the history expert, so he did most of our social studies and I always did read alouds. We had a great year, but you have to be really clear and respectful to each other.
     

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