Small class or coteacher

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Koriemo, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Apr 18, 2015

    I'm asking this purely out of curiosity.

    Would you prefer to have a small class of 12-16 students or would you prefer to have a large class of 30-32 students and a coteacher, with whom you could divide classroom responsibilities in any manner you two choose.

    You had freedom to choose whether to do mainly small group activities, or have one teacher responsible for all teaching in the morning while the other teacher plans, grades, and handles discipline, and the two switch roles in the afternoon.

    Obviously, a coteacher with whom you work well could alter the entire experience, so for the sake of this question, the coteacher could have any style/personality, but we'll presume that all potential teachers desire to teach well.
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Small class, absolutely.
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    How many IEP kids? I have a class of 15, 11 on IEPs. I can't imagine teaching it without my coteacher. Most of the time I'd choose the small class though.
     
  5. Ms_C

    Ms_C Comrade

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    I currently co-teach and hands down would rather have a small class!
     
  6. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    Smaller class but depends on the number of IEP students in the class, if any.
     
  7. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If my principal came to me tomorrow and told me that either I could have a class of 20, or a class of 40 with a full-time co-teacher (and presumably a bigger classroom), I'd hop on the class of 40 so quickly that heads would start spinning. You could easily make it best of both worlds, and it would make differentiating so much easier. Even thinking about something as simple as morning meeting... you could either do two smaller circles or one bigger circle, as the day might require. There are a lot of lessons which require some big set-up... and you could actually do that set-up without giving up your lunch break, but still have meaningful instruction going on. Guided reading and math groups would go so much smoother. You'd have the advantage of more similar kids (less likely to have the odd miss-mash of four kids who really don't fit together but don't fit in another group, etc) but with a second adult to actually lead the groups.

    It would be even better if it were a situation where you had two teachers, two classes of kids, and an accordion wall.
     
  8. The Natural Log

    The Natural Log Rookie

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    Sounds like you're referring to elementary, but at the high school level, I'd take the small class. Most of the co-teachers I've worked with don't know enough math to really teach the class in any meaningful way.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    It depends on the type of co-teacher... based on class sized doubling, I'm assuming it isn't a special ed thing, so you'd theoretically be getting a second general education teacher in the room.

    If you dropped 20 extra kids in my room, added five IEPs, and gave me a special education teacher, we'd be having a very different discussion. (EDIT: And likely a conversation with a good deal more profanity than the other discussion).
     
  10. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    I am thinking in Elem that may be easier but at the high school level, at least where I am, inclusion classes with licensed teachers generally the SPED teacher may or may not know the content she/he is assigned to with a Gen Ed teacher so they can't really help out in the sense that 2 teachers in a room specializing in that content area can do, kwim?
     
  11. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Based on how the question is worded, I'm assuming that the choice would be keeping your same general class makeup, doubling it, and adding another general education teacher... nothing SPED related.

    On another note though, it's kind of sad to me that it's considered acceptable for SPED teachers to not know the content. How can they provide remediation, reteaching, and support in a subject they don't know?
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Apr 18, 2015

    Small class.
     
  13. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    Exactly! In an ideal setting the Gen Ed and SPED teacher in an inclusion setting would know the content and could co-teach BUT that is going to cost more money PLUS you are now asking SPED teachers to now become certified in a content area......but still pay them the same pay....how do you find a SPED teacher who wants to become say, Chemistry certified as well?

    Technically the SPED teacher or aide is there for IEP compliance and to provide needed services, not instruction, for the SPED student.
     
  14. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Small class. I think it would be really hard to find a co-teaching situation where both teachers are truly compatible and consistently work and teach well together. I just see the potential for lots of issues. Everyone has their own style, after all.
     
  15. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Small class, definitely.
     
  16. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I'm one of those people who prefers working solo.

    Even if the coteacher was my own mother (Teacher of the Year, 30 years experience, and well known in the community as an all star teacher), I'd still pass.
     
  17. 2ndTimeAround

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    I don't know how reasonable it is to expect sped teachers to be competent in all subjects at the high school level. Even if a teacher gets certified in a subject area, seldom, in my experience, are they actually competent enough to teach the subject. Heck I have people in my department that have science degrees that I wouldn't trust teaching my own children - in certain subjects. For instance, my brilliant physics teacher colleague would stink at teaching biology.
     
  18. 2ndTimeAround

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    And hands-down, small class. I don't want two chefs in the kitchen.

    Heck, I'd rather take the bigger class with an aide than have a bigger one with another teacher. I'm sure I'd be much more efficient.
     
  19. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Small class. Heck, I'd kill for a small class of 20! Class sizes here are typically 30+, although I'm hoping for some improvements in the next few years due to funding changes.
     
  20. The Natural Log

    The Natural Log Rookie

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    Ironically, btw, our ICS classes that have co-teachers are usually smaller than non-ICS classes.
     
  21. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    So much hate for co-teaching! :eek:

    I get it. It sucks 99% of the time. And I'm on the SPED end. But when it works, it REALLY works, and gives children some phenomenal learning opportunities.

    That being said, I captain my own ship with a smaller class before I co-taught, even in the best situation.
     
  22. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I'd actually rather have the big class by myself than with a coteacher! Since that's what I have right now anyway!
     
  23. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    I dislike small classes under 20 because there's less opportunity for a variety of socialization, different groupings within the class and a feeling of a "class" in my opinion. Now I've taught a class as small as 8 kids.

    I'd prefer a bigger class with co teaching if it was with the right individual. I think there's so much value added with another teacher in the room. Also it's great to bounce different ideas off someone who knows the kids as well as you do.

    A small class of just gen Ed kids is good too, but there would have to be no IEPs and no behavior problems for me to consider it, and that's not always the case with gen Ed classes that small.
     
  24. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Small class. Hands down!
     
  25. Rhesus

    Rhesus Comrade

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    Small class for sure. I teach a foreign language at the high school level, and I find a class in the mid to high teens to be ideal.
     
  26. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I'll take the small class, thanks.

    Some of the grouping methods out there just to seem to be yearning to replicating a small class, anyway.

    Management would be easier as would differentiation.
     
  27. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Small class for sure. I hate co-teaching. My admin has casually mentioned going to more push-in services...I don't think we have the staff resources to do it anyway, but if we seriously did go to that model I would begin looking for a different position immediately.
     
  28. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    8 kids? Was that gen. ed.?
     
  29. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I've had a class of 3. That was too small by far. I have a class of 7 now. 10-15 is my perfect number. My biggest class this year is 20 and they are very chatty. I wish I had them spread out over two sections but it's still very manageable.
     
  30. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Out of curiosity, why are your classes so small? I've never heard of that at any level, much less secondary! We have 28 in upper elementary, which I actually find very manageable. The least I've ever had is 19, and that was first grade. I can't imagine having so few kids.
     
  31. YoungTeacherGuy

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    I do miss the days of 20:1. I've never heard of anything less than 20, though, unless it's a private school.
     
  32. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    This thread kinda bums me out. I recently accepted a new position that might allow for some co-teaching, and I was really looking forward to the opportunity. I'll be the sped teacher, but iI'm gen ed certified too with regular classroom experience of my own. I'll be in a K-8 school. I was really hoping that my partner teacher would see my knowledge and experience as a benefit and complement to his/her own, but now I'm having second thoughts. It's really sad to me that we expect children to work in teams/with partners, but we struggle so much to do this effectively as adults. :(
     
  33. bison

    bison Habitué

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    FWIW, I have seen co-teaching with sped and gen ed done beautifully, with both teachers and students benefitting. I think sometimes the idea of something is worse than the execution. You just need the right team and right arrangement, as well as some flexibility. :)
     
  34. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    Yes, private school.

    In the 5 years I was there I had 12,8,14,14,12.

    I actually enjoyed my class of 8 because of their personalities and they were a fun smart bunch. It was the only year I taught Kindergarten too.
     
  35. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    This exactly! I want a coteacher I can make classroom magic with. We have 3 co teaching teams out of 6 like that in my school where the teachers were matched greatly. If I get my way next year my colleague and I are hoping to coteach together because both of us were in the fail category of not having great coteachers and we've talked to each other extensively about what we would do if we taught together.

    The big thing is if I stay at my current school I will always have a coteacher even if it's part of the day (departmentalization) so if I'm going to have to do it, I'd rather it be with someone I know I can work with.
     
  36. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    We're just so small! We're a public school but we only graduate about 50-60 kids a year. Half of our juniors and seniors are either PSEO or at our career center. We have two teachers for each core subject at the high school level. I have the sophomores and most of the seniors who stay.
     
  37. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I've worked in some incredible co-teaching situations. As someone else said, magic happens and the kids and teachers all benefit. I would go back to either of those partnerships in a heartbeat.

    Of the teachers who teach the same grade level as I do, there is only one I could co-teach with (she's one I co-taught with in the past). Our personalities and the way we interact with the kids are very similar. The others...I respect and like them, but there would be lots of friction if we shared a space.
     
  38. perplexed

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    I co-teach in the mornings and in the later morning and afternoons, I have small classes of 13-15. I prefer my small classes in my classroom. I would take those all day over my co-teaching in the mornings. But if I we were on the same page with planning and management and we did our fair share, then I'd be more for co-teaching.
     
  39. 2ndTimeAround

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    I taught a class of 3 before. Also hated it. It was at a small school and necessary for scheduling.

    What was particularly difficult was that I had to have the same pacing for it, and do the same activities, as I did my class of 24. Down to the minute. So if a student had to miss the last part of my fourth block class he could come to second block the same day and get instruction then.
     
  40. 2ndTimeAround

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    I've never seen successful co-teaching at the high school level. I've heard a couple of people say it worked for them, but IMO it definitely didn't.

    The classes were chaotic with almost every school rule being broken constantly. The general students were bored out of their minds, failed the state final exam and the curriculum was not even 3/4s covered. The teachers bragged about it, though.

    I know it is coming my way and I dread every second of it. There isn't a single sped teacher at my school that runs a classroom like I do and I know it would be way too much work for me. I'd end up with assignments being accepted two months late, lopsided grading, inconsistency with rules and I'd have issues with respect. What kid wouldn't like the teacher that let them do what they want instead of follow school rules?
     
  41. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I've only heard of it in small towns. My husband attended a 3 - room school house that had a variety of 3 grades per room with 4-7 kids in each class. Teachers and aides merely split grade specific stuff up in even smaller groups.

    20 years later. .. school still runs the same way. My niece attends. This is the second smallest school in its district and the principal is split between this school and an honest - to-go oddness one - room school house (with Itty bitty attached cafeteria) 50 minutes away.

    This town has a steady population with a steady supply of kids, but it's just so small and far away from everything! The district gives families a stipend equivalent to what the busing would cost once the kids hit high school, either to pay for gas or, as the majority do, pay for keep with friends/family in the town with the high school.

    But it's a tiny school, k-8, with very tiny classes!
     

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