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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    This goes beyond just putting two teachers in a room. Ideally, the relationship would be like that of a pilot and copilot. The pilot is ultimately responsible for the safe operation of the aircraft. But the copilot is capable of taking over if needed. And if the copilot says an engine is about to catch on fire, the pilot better trust copilot's judgement. And finally, the copilot knows that he or she will eventually become a pilot if they demonstrate skill, expertise, and experience. And the pilot also knows that they can end up a copilot again if they mess up.

    Yes, I've worked with an aide. I also spent a summer co-teaching. Moreover, I spent several thousand hours in the Air Force flying as a part of the flight crew on transport aircraft. No going outside to "cool off" at 40,000 feet.
    My point exactly. In terms of basic classroom discipline, all the "administrative support" doesn't mean a thing if Johnny thinks the teacher isn't going to see him throw the spit wad. And if the teacher does see Johnny throw the spit wad, then the teacher either has to stop teaching in order to deal with it immediately, or make a note to deal with it later, at which point Johnny can deny throwing the spit wad and call the teacher a liar. So when Johnny decides to throw the spit wad, he stands a pretty good chance of getting away with it. Good enough, at least, that the fun of throwing the spit wad outweighs the risk.

    Actually, it would be one class with two names in the "teacher block" of the class roster. One teacher would be in charge, and get paid accordingly. No, the grading probably would not be split. I know it's a big paradigm shift, but it's doable. Maybe one teacher would issue all the grades, or maybe they would both sign off on them.

    I'm not denying that this would shake up the teaching profession. New teachers would work under a supervising teacher for longer than it normally takes to get tenure. The bar for becoming a supervising teacher would be rather high. It would probably need to be phased in - voluntary at first except for new teachers.

    Think of the possibilities. No more "sink or swim" for new teachers. They would actually get to learn how to teach before being eaten alive by that proverbial "6th grade class from hell." You could actually exploit people's strengths better. Maybe Mr. Brown is great in classroom management, but a bit dry in terms of teaching style. Meanwhile, Mr. Smith is creative and fun, but has a habit of letting kids run over him. Provided they are willing to learn from each other, you would have a very effective classroom environment.

    And if they are not willing to learn from each other? Well, that's when they get to have conversations with admin about whether they are in the right line of work.
     
  2. 2ndTimeAround

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    It is quite ridiculous to imply that teachers are in the wrong line of work simply because they do not like the idea of sharing a room with another teacher.
     
  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    It's silly. (That's my nice word for stupid. ;) )
     
  4. gr3teacher

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    If somebody isn't willing to do what's best for students, then they absolutely should get out of the profession.

    Though with that said, I don't think there's any evidence that this would be best for students, so it's just a hypothetical.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

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    exactly. And because educational research is spotty at best, we won't ever know if this is truly best for students.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Pipe dream?
    A class of 40 with two teachers when a class of 20 with one seems to be an insurmountable job, sarge? How does that make sense? Don't you think throwing up our collective teacher hands and stating that twenty kids cant be managed, taught, serviced, assessed, and accompanying administrative tasks be handled by one highly trained, educated, experienced professional just demeaning who we are, what we do, and giving fuel to the anti-teacher mentality that's already out there?
    how do you propose that the funds be found to fund a 'co-pilot' in every classroom? I make over $90K a year...even if you pay my copilot half that, does it make fiscal sense to pay $135K plus benefits so that paperwork and behaviors can be better managed in a classroom? ( not understanding the 'engine catching fire' analogy when it comes to a classroom...do you seriously have NO HELP in terms of admin, guidance, child study team for difficult situations? )

    I feel for you, Sarge. We all have our frustrating moments. We've all had years that drain us. Find some time this summer to reflect, rest and rejuvenate. You can't be your best for your kids, for yourself, or in your relationships if you are tired, frustrated, burnt out...wishing you well.:love:
     
  7. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    And being able to pair enough compatible teachers on a large scale would be very difficult...and if most pairings are less than ideal, the system doesn't much benefit students.
     
  8. gr3teacher

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    I will say that I think I like the idea of a lengthy internship more than just a blanket co-teaching for all scenario...honestly, a semester of student teaching really isn't enough, especially since many student teachers are still taking coursework, and need to work nights and weekends. I don't know how in the world it would work, though, but I think that's an idea that would have more success.
     
  9. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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    It sounds great in theory, but we're talking about spending at least 30 hours a day together (5 x 6 hrs a day not including any outside collaboration time). I think it would be difficult to match personalities. You really have to like the other person to spend that much time with them. I find most teachers to have some unique, albeit sometimes odd, traits and ways of doing things. For me, I have a bit of OCD so I tend to do things at a very fast pace. I'd go nuts waiting for a co-teacher to get to her part of grading papers, for example.

    Point being, a lot of my teacher friends and acquaintances, I can get along with fine. But if I were to envision being matched up with any of them in a classroom, I know things won't work because of the ways they do things. It's almost like how you can be the best of friends with someone, and as soon as you move in together, things don't work out because you start to notice the little things that drive you nuts on a daily basis.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Joe...I'm sure you mean 30 hours a week!;)
     
  11. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    In California, until about 20 years ago, the norm was 35 students in primary grades. If you went to 35 students with two teachers, the cost would not be a lot more than what it is currently. Of my current class of 20 kids, about 13 to 14 of them could easily learn in a room of 30 or even 40 students. About 3 or 4 just need a little extra help but will not succeed without it. The problem is that I have the last group of 3 or 4 who require such a watchful eye that teaching the class has become next to impossible. In terms of ability, those 3 or 4 students range from the brightest to the most challenged. The teacher in the room next to me has the same issue.

    If we were to combine our classes in one big room, one of us could teach while the other could redirect students and monitor behavior. We could also differentiate instruction better. One could work with a small group while the other teaches a whole class lesson to the rest. The reason I suggest two teachers and not a teacher and an aide is that she might be a better math teacher, and I might be a better language arts teacher.

    My "engine catching fire" was not just about emergency situations. It was meant to illustrate the professional responsibility that highly experienced individuals have when it comes to listening to less experienced newcomers. If spell a word incorrectly on the board, and my student teacher points it out, I have a responsibility to admit that it was wrong, erase it and spell it correctly. I cannot use the student teacher's lack of experience to claim that I was right in how I spelled the word. (That's not to say that many veteran teachers have done exactly what I just described, just as planes have been flown into the ground because the aircraft commander did not listen when the copilot said the altitude was dangerously low.)

    We're a K-8 school. Our admin is stretched very thin dealing with middle school issues. There is no guidance counselor. We have child study teams, but they generally deal with academics and not behavior. Teachers are expected to handle their own discipline and send kids to a buddy classroom when they misbehave. The problem is what to do with the student when they refuse to go the buddy classroom. Any consequence I give a student comes directly from me. If a student loses recess, that means I give up my recess or lunch (my only planning time) in order to sit with them.



    I also hate summer. I'd gladly work a shorter day or week and not have summers off. But that's just me. ;)
     
  12. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Let me explain part of where I'm coming from, literally.

    Before I was a teacher, I was in the Air Force. I was what was known as "enlisted aircrew" on C-141 transport planes.

    The C-141 normally flew with two or three pilots, two flight engineers and one or two loadmasters. I was a loadmaster. The main duties of an aircraft loadmaster are to supervise the loading and unloading of any cargo, compute the aircraft weight and center of balance, handle any passengers that may be on the plane, and make sure all of that stuff happens safely and in a very timely manner. About half the time, when I flew, I was the only loadmaster on the flight crew. About half the time, I flew with another loadmaster. We would have two loadmasters on missions that were either very long or had a lot of passengers.

    There might have been a slight preference to be the only loadmaster on the crew, for many of the same reasons that a lot of teachers like to be the only teacher in the classroom. It might have also been due to a dislike of long flights with passengers.

    However, nobody ever complained about getting a mission that required two loadmasters. It was 6 of one, half dozen of the other. Two loadmasters could divide up the duties. One could supervise the onload, while the other did the weight and balance. One might get the meals ready while the other did the customs paperwork. One person could be briefing the passengers while the other was in the back closing the giant cargo doors doors. All in all, things went a lot more smoothly and safely when two loadmasters were on the crew. Having only one loadmaster greatly increased the chances of something getting broken, someone getting hurt, or the mission getting delayed.

    On a 15 day trip, with two loadmasters, they would not only work together, they would also live together as well, sharing a room each night depending on their rank (and of course, gender as well).

    Most of us were junior NCO's in our early or mid twenties, with little or no college education.

    Like any other organization, we had people who were difficult to get along with, as well as people who didn't always pull their weight. But we dealt with it. The fact was that if you didn't pull your weight, chances were that you would be talking to the chief when you got back.

    So if a bunch of junior NCO's in their early or mid twenties, with little or no college education could manage to work together as professionals, why would it be so hard to expect teachers to do the same?
     
  13. 2ndTimeAround

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    Sarge, I suspect it would be much cheaper for your school to employ extra administrators and disciplinary deans than to add a second teacher to each room. Money could be spent on the behavior directly.
     
  14. HistoryVA

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    Couldn't the same be said of a teacher who can't handle his/her classroom? I certainly don't need a 2nd teacher. If someone feels capable of handling their job, why should a 2nd teacher be forced upon them?
     
  15. catnfiddle

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    You had me until you explained your model of having a lead teacher and a secondary one. That being said, this thread has made it clear that not all models work for all teachers.
     
  16. otterpop

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    This!

    So many schools have really limited numbers of instructional assistants and gotten rid of assistant principals and counselors. I have heard of schools basically forbidding teachers to write discipline referrals. Teachers are having to teach PE, library, art, and monitor recess. On top of that, teachers are having to do in-class interventions (through models like RTI) that used to be done by other teachers or aides either in the classroom or out. Schools used to have teachers for TAG (gifted) students but many have eliminated that. If schools would bring in more professionals to serve these kids, I think it would accomplish a lot of what you are getting at, Sarge.
     
  17. John Lee

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    Because experience doesn't equal inflexibility in real life, that's why. On the contrary, experience should make you more flexible. You are unwittingly supporting my statements. You're saying that because you are experienced, you shouldn't be made to move. You're taking a defensive position (saying changes are made "just for the sake of change").

    Again, you are getting overly defensive.
    Where did I ever say or even imply that experienced teachers are awful. All I said is that they have an entitled attitude, that precludes collaborative scenarios like co- or partner-teaching. That has nothing to do with their teaching ability.
     
  18. Loveslabs

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    We have no choice but to use the school wide system of using a clip chart. Each student has a star with their name on it on their desk. When they are given a warning they have to put their star on my desk. Once they lose their star they know the next move is a clip change. We can both see who has been warned so that cuts done on multiple warnings from the two of us.

    We do communicate constantly throughout the day, so we can head off any possible melt downs, etc. If needed we move desks, give sensory breaks, talk to students privately, or have students talk with their counselor.

    The students believe we are both teachers (even though my paraprofessional really isn't) which I think lends itself to more respectful behavior from the students.

    We don't really have any behavior problems because we make it very clear at the beginning of the year what our expectations are. We are also very firm and consistent.

    We also make a point of teaching the students to not go to the other teacher if they don't get what they want when they ask the first teacher. The students know that is sneaky and will result in an instant clip change if they do so. Every year one child tries it and we immediately nip it in the bud which sets the tone for the rest of the year.

    Ultimately, I think what allows us to work together so well is we put the needs of the students above all else. We want all of the students to succeed, so we do what we can as adults to make it happen.
     
  19. greendream

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    I'm really not convinced by your line of reasoning with this topic, Sarge (and I've read it more than once in my time here on the forums).

    Essentially, you're saying, "Hey, I think this radical redesign of school and classroom dynamics would work for me personally because of my specific background in the Air Force and due to my specific classroom issues. Therefore this should be implemented across the board, and if you have a problem with it, you should find another job."
     
  20. lucybelle

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    I like the idea in theory, but I don't know it would work. There would have to be a lot of mutual respect between the teachers, lots of support, and very open communication.

    I'd be interested in the logistics of it. How does grading work? Does one teacher get one half and the other teacher another half of the work? What about lecturing? One teacher lecture one day, and another the other day? Lesson planning? It certainly seems way more time consuming.
     
  21. TeacherNY

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    This is the kind of classroom I had in 5th grade. It was one HUGE room with 2 teachers. One teacher taught ALL science, one teacher taught ALL social studies, and then they divided the class into high/low reading and math groups and we all split up. I think there were 40-45 kids in the class. It seemed to work well (from what I remember). I've never seen such a classroom since.
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I would love to have a buddy teacher in the classroom under certain circumstances. (The first time I typed that, I wrote "a butter teacher". I have no idea what I meant by that.) :lol:

    For me to enjoy the experience, here's what I would need:
    • The option to select my own teaching partner (who would also have to select me, of course)
    • A teaching partner who is truly a partner and willing to do as much work as I am willing to do
    • A teaching partner whom I respect and like
    • A teaching partner who shares similar views on classroom management, engagement, etc.
    • Clear direction from admin on how exactly the dual-teacher thing will work, with this information given to parents and students as well
    • An opt-out option if I decide that I prefer to work by myself

    One of my former coworkers and I used to talk about how fun it would be if we could teach our classes together. We worked extremely well together and were basically the same person when it came to personality and opinions on classroom discipline and whatnot. We made each other better teachers. Of course, the biggest problem with our idea was that we taught different subjects. :lol: If we could have worked that part out, though, I really do think that we would have been great together.

    If I were forced to team-teach with someone that I didn't like, didn't respect, and/or didn't work well with, I would hate the experience and would likely be looking for a new job ASAP. If I can't be with someone of my own choosing, then I'd just prefer to be by myself.
     
  23. YoungTeacherGuy

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    My mom is an amazing kindergarten teacher. She has been teaching for over 25 years. I truly admire her and think she's a talented educator, but we could never co-teach together. We have very similar personalities and I think we'd end up driving each other crazy.

    I don't think there's anyone I would want to team teach with. Ever.
     
  24. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    YTG, that's what I'm thinking. No thank you...forever and under any and all conditions! ;)
     
  25. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Not only no, h*** no. I have a full time aide and I usually want to punch her in the throat. And it's a pretty common consensus among the staff at our school. The trouble is is that when you give too many people ownership of one thing they are going to butt heads, they're not going to agree and then you become ineffective. We are effective as a school because when push comes to shove, one person (the teacher) can say, "Well since I'm the one with the license, my way goes." Two people with licenses? No way.
     
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