Do you do things on your own or with a cooperating teacher?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Peregrin5, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jul 9, 2015

    So, when I first came to my school, there was another teacher who taught my subject and grade level, but he also taught math.

    During my pre-teaching experience, (my internship), the cooperating teacher simply gave me the curriculum he was using, (which made sense since I was a long-term sub that came half-way through the year).

    When I started my first year, I discussed with my cooperating teacher whether or not things ran the same way, and he strongly suggested that I develop my own curriculum, and we each do things our own way.

    I was completely fine with this and grateful for the opportunity for creativity in how I teach my lessons. However, I've since come to understand that this seems to be a rarity in the teaching profession. Multiple teachers I've met are aghast when they learn that me and the other 8th grade teacher don't use the same curriculum or even spend much time planning together. They wonder how we make sure all students get the same standards.

    Our 6th grade teachers teach in lockstep, where you can watch one teacher, go across the hall and see the other teacher finishing the sentence of the previous one.

    I like the way we do things, because I like the freedom and creativity it gives me. We also share ideas about what we do, and feel free to use ideas from each other or to not use them. I also think that the two of us are good enough teachers to ensure that our students are understanding all of the essential standards. But there's a major push in our district towards shared standard curriculum and standard shared assessments, etc.

    How are things like in your school? Do you do exactly the same thing as another teacher, or are you mostly on your own?
     
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  3. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    If I'm not teaching the same lesson on the exact same day, I'd get questioned.

    Enjoy your freedom while it lasts!
     
  4. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    We're all on the same page, as far as what to teach, generally when (within a week or two), but we all use our own methods and ideas. We do share ideas, but we are strongly encouraged to adapt things to meet the needs of our own class. No two classes are the same, so no two teachers should be doing all the same things.
     
  5. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    My previous school had 2 Pre-K classes and we used the same curriculum. However, we definitely taught differently. The kids in my class were more advanced so we were either ahead in the curriculum or I was bringing in extra/enrichment things for them to do.
    For example, at the end of the year, the kids had to learn how to tell time to the hour. The other class struggled, while my class mastered it in one lesson, so I taught them how to tell time to the half hour and quarter hour.
    It worked and both classes were ready for Kindergarten. My class just happened to learn extra concepts along the way.
     
  6. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Everything on my own. At every school were I have taught MS, there has never been more than one social studies teacher for each grade - thus, no one to co-teach or plan with. But, at the MS level, there was a sense of team/grade-level "planning" when it came to behavior and procedures.

    When I taught HS, I was the only person teaching US History, World History, American Gov't and/or a Senior elective each year - so, once again, no one to co-teach or plan with and no team "planning" at all.

    Honestly, I would never want a co-teacher in my room and I would not want to have to teach with anyone else lock-step, everyday. Now, that being said, there were times when I hated having no else in my building to discuss anything with. Still, I would rather ride alone than have to co-teach/plan.
     
  7. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    I'm the only subject teacher for my grade level so by default I do not have a cooperating teacher. When I taught high school we had PLC groups. We had to stick to a pacing guide for each subject but the advanced teachers in my groups were usually ahead of me. That wasn't a problem with admin. Our PLC groups needed to have a certain number of common assessments every marking period. I'm better at working in a group so I liked having the PLC to discuss ideas. But I feel like I am more successful with more freedom.
     
  8. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    At my old school, we were given a lot of freedom and creativity.

    At my new school, which I'll be starting at this August, we are pretty much expected to do everything exactly the same, and we are each responsible for planning a specific subject. So, even if I have a great idea for another subject or vice versa, there's no promise that it will be used.

    If I am being honest, I'm having a hard time adjusting to it.
     
  9. LiterallyLisa

    LiterallyLisa Companion

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    Jul 9, 2015

    We have PLCs. We get together and look at/tweak the pacing guide, create common assessments based on what each of us have gone over, analyze data, and talk about what we are doing to teach a certain standard as suggestions, what we will teach next, etc. We never actually sit down and write lesson plans together.

    I taught SS and LA my first two years and both PLCS were ran like that. Language Arts is alil different in that we have a textbook and it is sort of a requirement to use. While we might be reading the same story or at least be teaching the same standard on plot, it was up to us how we got our students to that mastery of the standard. One teacher used the resources that came with the books. (Note taking sheets, etc.) I did interactive notebooks with foldables.

    Same for SS, but there were quite a few times that I had a walkthrough and when I got the comments later, it mention how she had also been in SS teacher so in so's room and we were teaching the same things just in a different way and they loved that. We never planned it, just worked out that way and I wouldn't know it unless I walked into their room and seen their agenda or admin told me

    All classrooms are different, so i couldn't imagine having to be on the same page as someone else--or two other people for that matter. When my kids needed an extra day to get the content, I gave it to them and vice versa. My admin loves the idea of, if most of my class is ready to move on to a new topic and so and so's class is still working on it, then I could send my two or three students to so and so's class and if they have some who are ready to move on, then they could come visit my room....never quite worked that one out, and what would happen after that, idk.

    I think we generally follow the,try to be within a week or so of each other as far as what we are teaching goes.
     
  10. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    This is how our grade level team of 4 works as well. I love it. We can have very deep teaching conversations and adapt things to fit our classrooms that only we know.
     
  11. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    We are a team of 6 and share planning, and plans have to follow the pacing and curriculum guides. We have to be within a week of the guides. Our plans list skills, standards, and materials. The actual activities vary from teacher to teacher.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    On my own, although those of us who teach the same thing do share ideas.
     
  13. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    We talk and offer ideas and activities to each other, but might not even be teaching the same topic in any subject at the same time.
    It works for us and our kids show progress.
     
  14. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    I teach at a super small school, so there is only one teacher per subject. I wish we had more continuity throughout the grade levels though.
     
  15. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    It's very rare two teachers at my school teach the same course. In fact, I can't think of any, except maybe some math. This upcoming year is our first year where we have that. We have four English teachers. Three will be teaching one section of English 9. I think they plan to do the same works, but with their own plans.

    I love my freedom. I still run things past the other HS teacher though just to see what she thinks.
     
  16. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    We use the same curriculum and share assessments. We really try and calibrate our grading because our district has a highly sought after public high school that admits based on GPA and standardized test scores.
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Interesting, the variety of situations. I forgot to mention that in my case, we do usually teach the same subjects in the same order, but one year, I decided to take an entire unit and put it somewhere else completely in my pacing guide just to see if it worked, and we were okay with that. (it didn't work though)
     
  18. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I'm the only teacher in my school who teaches
    - Junior English
    - Senior English
    - Psychology

    So, ...
     
  19. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I teach in two departments and have two completely different experiences:

    My WL classes are pretty set ahead of time by my colleague who teaches one section of the same level I do and all the higher levels. We follow the book curriculum and I feel compelled to follow her lead since I send my students up to her and need to know they're prepared for the next level. Aside from the assessments, though, I am pretty much free to teach the content however I see fit.

    My English classes are a different story...It's a very hands-off, independent department, and aside from deciding on core texts for the year (no one really uses an anthology), everyone does their own thing. I will be teaching all three sections of one cluster (career pathway) English 12 next year, and am supposed to be collaborating with the Econ/Gov't teacher for the cluster. I am hoping we can share ideas and work together so I don't end up feeling like I'm going it alone so much!
     
  20. MiamiMathMan

    MiamiMathMan Rookie

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    48 in a class with a co-teach. Here is the problem. Homeroom I teach math for a 2 hour block. next day same two hour block homeroom, might be ELA, and that co-teacher of course hates math and doesn't even seem to understand how important it is. I might not be ELA cert but I can write and read with the best of them plus I teach SS as well and that covers a lot of ELA in it.

    It's really tough to try and teach 48 while the co-teach bolts from the room to go wherever it is they disappear to. I'm not a huge fan of it but if I am teaching in that environment again this year I will be very upfront with the co-teach about desires and expectations. I don't enjoy involving administration but I won't hesitate this year. I refuse to pull the sled by myself everyday.
     
  21. Bibliophile

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    Reading everyone's responses is very interesting to me as it totally applies to something I'm going through. I will be teaching k at a brand new school so the other k teacher is also new to the school, though not new to teaching like I am. Anyways I am very excited and I have been planning and coming up with my procedures and set up all summer but when I met the other k teacher I was very disheartened that she is totally discouraging me doing my own thing and she keep telling me that I should just do the same thing she is doing. She even thinks we should have the same supplies list and homework policies...but I don't . I keep saying we have different opinions buts it's ok to be different. She said "well I'll talk to the principal and see what she says" . This principal has gone one and on about how much freedom we will have and how she trusts us but Im worried that she will tell me to follow the more experienced teacher if the other k teacher makes a thing out of it. What would you guys do if you were me?
     
  22. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    I'm in HS, and for the past several years I've been the sole 9th Grade English teacher. I've gotten quite used to it, and I like that freedom. At the end of this last year, some changes were being made (two of our four teachers leaving). I knew I was going to be asked to teach some 10th grade, but when it became clear that I COULD have all of the 10th grade instead of some 10th and some 11th as was originally suggested, I pretty much insisted on all 10th because I wanted that independence. My administrators thought I was nuts, they were offering me some Honors 11th grades full of fabulous students, and I was opting to take on all 10th grade which has an End-of-Course State Standardized test and, frankly, some rather challenging students (I know, I had them all this past year!) But it was worth it to me to have that freedom. The other teacher who teaches 11th honors was already talking about getting together to plan some units and talk about what we want to teach, and while I really love her to pieces, the thought of it did not excite me. That's just not how I roll as a teacher. I have to plan by myself, and then I might run what I'm thinking of doing by someone before I attempt it, or afterwards I'll share how it went and see how it could be better, but I want to do all of the initial planning myself. I wouldn't expect anyone to think they have to teach what, when, and how I teach, and I wouldn't want anyone to expect that of me. As long as we're hitting those standards, it doesn't matter how we get there.
     
  23. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Make sure YOU talk to the principal yourself. In fact, if you can beat the other teacher to the punch, it might be best. Be very tactful and polite, but just mention that the other teacher is suggesting you follow her lead and adopt her policies and procedures, and ask if that is required or if you can do some things a bit differently from her? Ask it in innocence, not like you're irritated but like you just aren't sure and you don't want to cause problems. If the principal says you need to follow the other teacher's lead and advice, then there you go. If the principal says you don't have to, then there you go! If the teacher continues to be pushy after your principal tells you that you can do things your own way, politely mention that you have the principal's permission to do things a little differently with your class. Then go about your merry way. If the principal tells you to do it the other teacher's way, you'll have to do that, I guess.
     
  24. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jul 19, 2015

    I have a grade-level teaching partner. We follow the same curriculum map that we created together, but we teach the content slightly differently.

    I work with a six-person team, and we have common expectations and policies.
     

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