I think it's time for two teachers in every classroom

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Sarge, Apr 26, 2014.

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  1. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I don't want a smaller class.

    I don't want an aide.

    I've come to the conclusion that every classroom, at least at the elementary level, should be staffed by two teachers.

    The behavior and emotional baggage that kids bring to school with them today have made an ordinary classroom unmanageable for most teachers. You need two adult bodies in the classroom every day. To me, it has become a safety issue. And in order to meet the needs of the students, they should both be trained teachers.

    Team teaching should be the rule, not the exception. I'd rather team-teach a class with 30 kids than fly solo with a class of 15. I'd even take my class of 20 and double it to 40 and have two teachers if we could find a room big enough.

    You probably have some questions. I'll answer them ahead of time.

    But what if a teacher can't work with another teacher in the room? I know a lot of teachers relish the Mother Hen/Queen of the Castle/Captain of the Ship aspect of the job. Too bad. If those teachers can't handle it, they need to find another profession. Part of working in the grownup world is dealing with coworkers.

    But what if one of the teachers is not pulling their weight in the classroom and leaves the other teacher with the work? That's what managers are for. I've worked in other jobs where people worked in small teams. If one didn't carry their own weight, the boss stepped in and dealt with it. If someone is spending all their time in the break room, or running off to Starbucks 3 times a day, the job of a manager is to correct the behavior.

    Right now, teachers are generally managed by placing them in a "sink or swim" situation. Nobody has to make sure that I show up on time because if I'm late, someone has to cover my class and I have a disaster on my hands when I get to work. I stay on the job because I can't leave my students alone. With two teachers in the classroom, that would change. I might be tempted to show up late and leave early, especially if my teammate was one who could be taken advantage of. In the non-teaching world, punctuality is enforced by having the boss pay attention to what time people come and go.

    Sorry for the rant. I've had a rough year.
     
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  3. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    I'm a sped teacher and have tried co -teaching. Most teachers I've worked with have some kind of need to rule their classroom with an iron fist. There would have to be some major changes. I was certified to teach the core classes I co- taught. I like your idea though. If the adults could get over themselves I think it would benefit the students. And you are right in the business world this kind of foolishness would never be tolerated. If I worked for company abc and invented a way for delivery drivers to save 30 seconds off each delivery the company would own my work product.if a teacher finds a new way to help students its their work product and some are going to pitch a fit if they find out another teacher"stole" their ideas. I'm not sure if the teaching world is mature enough to team up to help students:(
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Donziejo! Spot on.
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I've co-taught in the gen ed rule three different times with three different sped teachers. It has only been successful once, and that is because we were both trained on various ways to co-teach, were given a common planning time, and had a supportive administration.

    I think we have to be very careful about always blaming the gen ed teacher in co-teaching though. My first attempt, my partner was in his last year and would literally come in and stand next to the wall the entire class. He made no effort to do anything. The second attempt didn't succeed because neither of us really knew how to make it work, and we had no support so we were the blind leading the blind.
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

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    Out of 120 teachers at my school I am one of maybe five that uphold classroom and school rules consistently. I also write fewer referrals than most of my colleagues. I don't have a bug problem and my custodian loves me. I don't curve but teach instead. Or I just allow students to take their lumps. My school is filed with teachers that inflate grades.

    In my experience it is difficult to find teachers that have the same teaching style. I would not work well sharing a classroom with someone who gave gimme grades, bowed down to parents, allowed students to break school rules and allowed the class to be a zoo.
     
  7. Sakura

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    I think your suggestion should apply at the middle school and high school level to where things can get dangerous. A first-year teacher should be able to have a more experienced teacher there to help them out. There is so much baggage and it only gets worse the higher up you go because a lot of them can start to get violent and it's scary how huge some kids are by the time they get into middle school!
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I have gone from co-teaching to teaching solo with a Title I teacher to help with the struggling students. It isn't the same, and I dearly miss the collaboration and interaction. Students benefit from teacher collaboration.
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

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    I don't see a need for it where I'm at most of the time. The classes I'm solo are 3, 4, and 7 students. I've never felt a need for another teacher in the room. My class sizes of 12, 17, and 25 have a sped teacher. It's nice having her, but the day doesn't run any less smoothly when she's not there. My kids are well-behaved and they're pretty patient. We do a lot of independent work and discussions. I'm usually pleased with how my classes work. My sped counterpart and I see eye to eye on most things, but we still have too many disagreements about grading to where I'd want a permanent co-teacher.

    I could see there being more of a need in the lower grades.
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

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    Grading would be my biggie. The sped teachers that I know are awesome advocates for the students on their caseload. They spend a lot more time one-on-one with the students than I ever could. Much of their time together is spend "relationship building." I am thrilled the students have someone that knows them so well in their corner with them.

    But... it SEEMS that the relationship building creates such a soft spot in the teachers' hearts that the teachers want what will make the kids' lives easier, not necessarily what is best for them. Or even fair to everyone else (even with the whole fair doesn't mean equal mess).

    For instance, I had a student that supposedly was a poor reader. I never knew because he refused to read anything to me. Sped ed teacher told me he was. So I quizzed him orally and he refused to answer that way too. In fact, he pretty much refused to do anything except stir up trouble with his friends. Maybe he was compensating - I don't know. Some kids are just jerks because they're jerks. His reading scores were higher than many of his classmates'. But those classmates didn't have IEPs.

    I did everything I was required to do in the IEP. And extra. But he still failed every test and refused to turn in work. He would often write his name at the top of quizzes and turn them in without even attempting to take them.

    If I had shared a class with that teacher should would have made my life hell over that kid. She fought me then about his grade when she had no legal say in it.

    My job is to say whether or not a child has learned a certain amount of material during the semester. Not that he can copy a diagram from a book or organize his notes neatly for a notebook check. completing worksheets while using the text hardly tells me what a kid KNOWS. Just tells me that he can transfer info from one place to another.
     
  11. gr3teacher

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    I don't think Sarge is talking just about special ed and general ed team-teaching (although even then, the breakdown of grading seems obvious to me... gen ed teacher handles the grades, SPED teacher handles IEP progress reporting).

    As for the actual idea... I'd gladly double my class size if it meant another teacher was in the room with me, although what I think would work better is for two classes with a movable divider between them. When it's appropriate or necessary, the divider opens, when it's not, the divider closes.
     
  12. JustMe

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    I'd find another career path.
     
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I'd love it!
     
  14. Go Blue!

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    Personally, I don't want a co-teacher. It would not end well. So, I guess I would have to leave teaching (or be forced out).

    BUT, I would like an effective system for dealing with behavior problem kids. Writing them up and having the write-up dealt with the following week is not effective. Calling parents that tell you they have also given up on their child is not effective. Calling for a pick up and having the kid sent right back is not effective. Assigning detentions when there are no consequences for skipping detention is not effective. Admin telling me that we can't suspend kids, that we can't staff ISS and that their hands are tied so "I should not look to them for solutions to the impossible" is not effective.

    I'm not sure what I want to make my job better because I've never taught in a building with a functioning, effective behavior system. Still, I would like a functional, effective behavior system so I can teach and not spend my whole day putting out fires.
     
  15. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Ouch! Have you seen some rough examples of it and decided it wasn't for you?
     
  16. JustMe

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    I just know my personality... I didn't at all like having a collaborative teacher, so two general ed teachers would not be for me.

    It was a popular idea about fifteen to twenty years ago to blow out walls between two classrooms and have two teachers in one space. The idea was dead in just a couple years.
     
  17. kcjo13

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    Ooh, there's a school near me that the entire elementary school is one big open room. They have creatively placed bookshelves. Back in the day, when it was built, it was "new age" and "innovative".

    Now, it's just a pain in the teachers' butts. They all hate it. We had to visit there once to observe their reading series, and it was the worst day of my career. I could not focus at all; I suppose the kids get used to it, but I can't imagine what it's like for a new student moving in. :unsure:
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

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    A classic case of top-down Procrustean* innovation: someone quietly mentions having had good success with two teachers teaching in one fairly large space, and the next thing you know, the boffins and the administrators are calling for elimination of all the walls because, of course, what works on a small scale has to work even better on a much bigger one and, naturally, what works in one classroom is absolutely right for absolutely all other classrooms.

    I think Sarge isn't calling for anything of the kind.
     
  19. Jerseygirlteach

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    Sounds like me school. There's nothing good I can say about an open classroom, unfortunately.

    To the OP - I wouldn't want to be an inclusion teacher. I know a few inclusion teachers and they report being treated like aides, being treated like visitors in the classroom, and then having the gen ed teachers complain that they don't do enough. NOTE - please don't be upset with me if you're an inclusion teacher or a gen ed teacher working with an inclusion teacher. I'm just reporting the experiences I've heard about and they've made me not want this for myself.
     
  20. joeschmoe

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    You suggest a solution at an attempt to solve a problem, but you introduce more problems. One of which is the ability for two teachers to coexist. I have met and known dozens and dozens of teachers. Great people, diverse personalities, and in there lies the problem of how two people can "rule" one space. I'm sorry, but simply stating that teachers should "deal with it" isn't a solution.

    The profession and job requires constant decision making. When you have two heads making decisions, more often than not, the decisions won't jive. Even if two people can get along great, the constant contradiction can make things tense. In the end, when the two teachers don't get along, they will refuse to work together, which defeats the whole purpose of co-teaching.

    A compromise is simply giving a full time aide to each teacher. No conflict of power there. One person might not be fully credentialed or able to do certain things, but at least you no longer have an issue of two chiefs.
     
  21. Jerseygirlteach

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    Well, I wouldn't be so sure about that either. :whistle:
     
  22. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Ditto.
     
  23. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I have a full time para. It's wonderful. I agree that it works because there is one only person "in charge." I might have to share my room next year and I'm dreading it. My teammates have pointed out that I already share my room with my para. It's totally different, because I'm still in charge of the room. It helps that my para is completely fantastic- I could see that being rough too with the wrong person.
     
  24. Go Blue!

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    Exactly. Just because someone has the title of Vice President, it doesn't mean they won't try to usurp the President's power. Especially if the VP has a more dominant personality.
     
  25. joeschmoe

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    It's not going to be perfect but it's a compromise to the suggestion that there be two adult educators in the room at any one time. At least with this scenario, it's quite clear who makes the decision.
     
  26. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I can't imagine what a school would have to lose in its budget to double what it pays in teacher salaries. Not worth it, IMO. Excluding IEP situations and overcrowding, there's no reason for doubling up.
     
  27. Lurker

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    This. I've seen a lot of aides push their weight around because they have more seniority or a better connection. Even if they don't have those things, they can still complain and be passive aggressive. There was a new teacher in my school last year for kindergarten. I could tell she wasn't the shrinking violet type. She got saddled with an aide who's been bounced around every class that needs an aide. They didn't get along and the aide actually said to her in a pd "We've been doing it that way for years. We'll be doing it that way next year when you're GONE". :unsure: It was true. :dizzy:

    I didn't enjoy having an aide the times I did. I know with my current coworkers I wouldn't enjoy coteaching.

    I think coteaching works best when the roles are defined. For example, Mrs. Jones teaches English and History and Mrs. Smith helps out or does some sort of prep work and they switch when Mrs. Smith teaches Math and Science. I also can't imagine a room with forty children. I feel like that's a breeding ground for children to get lost. Both the children who are struggling academically and the middle ones. The boys and girls who are doing "ok", but not very social and in their own "bubble". I also feel with that many children unwanted behavior could escalate.
     
  28. Lurker

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    Have you ever worked with an aide? I think it's easy to say suck it up if you haven't. The "grownup world" is not being stuck in the same space with another adult all day. If my husband doesn't like someone he has to work with, he can sit in his office and work on his part, or go outside, or in the break room. As a teacher, you can't do that with an aide or coworker who is unbearable or lazy. In the grown up world, you're not stuck working with the same person in and out for 180 days. Teams change and often you can pick who you work with the "grownup" world.
     
  29. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Sign me up. I've had really rough year, and a second pair of eyes and hands and another brain would have been so, so welcome.
     
  30. bella84

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    I have three paras/aides this year in my sped room. It's the second-worst part of my job. Miserable. If I have to share my space with another adult, I'd much rather they be another fully-certified teacher.

    As far as the original idea about two regular teachers co-teaching together, I think that would be ideal. In fact, I watched some film about Finland's educational system back when I was in grad school - a film in which they discussed how every classroom had two teachers, and I've been saying that would be the perfect solution ever since then. Now, I definitely don't think it's a necessity at all grades, all schools, and all courses. I do, however, think it would be most beneficial at the primary grades. Maybe it wouldn't be needed in a secondary setting. I don't have experience there, so I can't say.

    If I could have a co-teacher (not an aide), I'd gladly take them, welcome them, and openly collaborate with them. No way do I want to "supervise" another adult aide, unless I'm getting paid extra money for it. And even then, it might not be worth the hassle. In my experience, having adult aides is like having additional students on the roster - only harder to deal with.
     
  31. Loveslabs

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    I have an excellent paraprofessional! We sat down and discussed our styles, expectations, strengths, weaknesses, etc. before the first day of school three years ago. We are an awesome team, and she makes me a better teacher.
    She sees herself in the role of the observer. Often, she will discuss something with me that I don't see because I am so busy juggling seven thousands things. Her observations allow me to make some changes which really pay off in the form of student success. Also, she is a great sounding board for when I can't figure out how to solve a problem. She has over twenty years of experience with special needs kids so she usually has some great ideas.
    If we could make copies of her I would be happy to share.:D
     
  32. 2ndTimeAround

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    Loveslabs, how does discipline work in your classroom?
     
  33. Special-t

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    I think students benefit from seeing adults work together as a supportive team. Especially those who come from families where adults are at odds with each other.
     
  34. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Remember, Sarge is talking about having two educators sharing equal power and responsibility, not about having inclusion or paraprofessional aides. Only the grading is split, although it's possible to trade off who grades whom.
     
  35. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Yes, this has been my experience too. It's also a reason I will never be an inclusion teacher again. I'm certified in reading and sped. Last year I wasn't an official inclusion teacher, but the reading teacher asked me for help and we became good friends and worked well together. Unfortunately she moved to Memphis this year to make 12,000 more per year and its not been a smooth transition for me. In fact I'm transferring out of my school to take a sped resource job teaching younger grades. I know Sarge isn't talking about gen ed and sped but while I think he has a great idea I don't see it working.
     
  36. John Lee

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    This is the dichotomy I see.

    Most newer (idealistic) teachers welcome anything their way. OTOH, veteran teachers will bristle at anything that doesn't conform to them. And who knows... maybe its just a product of being in the business after a while. I think teachers are made to feel entitled, and therefore are inflexible to any different ideas. Just this week, I had a veteran teacher throw a fit because she was potentially having to move from 5th to 4th. Daily, I see pettiness on the part of veteran teachers toward each other. I have after-school duty with another teacher, and because I was 5 minutes late (tending to a matter in my class), she basically split 5 minutes early (so that I could make-up the lost time).

    I think co-teaching is just another way of talking about a couple of long-standing issues in teaching: smaller classes, and collaboration. I think environments where collaboration is great = everything is hunky-dory. I think environments where classes are small are likewise.
     
  37. JustMe

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    John, it's not that I feel "entitled". It's that I've had a couple of dud collaborative teachers over the years and I just don't like the idea of having a second general ed teacher in the classroom either. I am extremely...hmmm, what's the word? I just like to be alone (but with twenty-five kids ;) ). I've worked best alone since kindergarten so not wanting a second general teacher in the classroom isn't an "entitled" opinion developed after eight years of teaching.
     
  38. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Of course they do! They're still learning what kind of teacher they are- what works for them, what doesn't. How will they ever figure out what will work best if they don't try everything at least once? But trying something and saying "ya know, that just doesn't work for me" is NOT the same as "bristling at anything that doesn't conform to them." Do you use every single teaching strategy that's ever been promoted at a PD or college course? Why not- are you "bristly"?

    My first few years, I would have welcomed any advice, new tactic and given it a shot. Some I kept, most I discarded. I now know myself well enough to know that I hate using popsicle sticks to call on people, I'm not disciplined enough to keep up with daily reward systems and if I don't get my daily Diet Coke, I'm cranky as heck during first block. :p If someone suggest popsicle sticks and I say "nope, wouldn't work for me", that doesn't mean I'm "bristly", it means I know me better than you know me.
     
  39. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    It isn't always an age thing. The first time I co-taught, my partner was a woman who has been a teacher longer than I have been alive, and it was a voluntary decision for us to work together. We had a good blend of energies and ideas, and the students loved it when we didn't agree. It gave them a chance to see us work through concepts right in front of them. They learned along with us.
     
  40. John Lee

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    I'm speaking toward a general condition. Of course individual teachers (JustMe) may not conform to that general statement. I'm sorry that I implied that.

    I stand by my point though. In regards to HistoryVA's comment, no one is talking about imposing popsicle stick or reward systems in this case. It is about inflexibility, that I think is borne out of (I suppose) the amount of tenure in the system. Think about the scenario above that I alluded to, in your own school. If the P told any teacher in your school (insert name) that they would be teaching a different grade and/or different subject, how would they react? You know and I know that you would hear ALL SORTS of complaining. From my experience I will tell you: Most will bellyache, some will even cry when told, etc. And I get it--so much of your resources are related to a specific grade level, if you've been there for a while. But they do it IMO, more because they feel entitled to the position they've grown to love. Be honest.

    I happen to prefer teaching in upper elementary. But I'm credentialed to teach anywhere from K-6. And if my P told me I'd be teaching K next year, I'd be thrilled at the prospect.
     
  41. 2ndTimeAround

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    why can't it be an inflexibility borne out of experience? Why should a teacher change what is working just for the sake of change? Why should a teacher who has tried something a few times already and watched it fail be forced to repeat a mistake?

    How many teachers on here have either hosted a student teacher or helped mentor one where you knew in your heart of hearts what they were proposing would not work. But because the student teacher is adamant you allowed her to try her experiment so she can learn from her mistakes? And fail she did. You were there to pick her up, help her reflect and reteach the material the children missed.

    If experienced teachers were so awful why do we place student teachers with them to start?
     
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