Working with a co-teacher

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by JustineCase, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. JustineCase

    JustineCase Rookie

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    Oct 19, 2008

    I'm in my 2nd year & i have a couple of classes where I co-teach with a special education teacher... well.. the theory is that we co-teach. I think this teacher likes to lecture & won't meet with me out of classtime to plan. They want to discuss this stuff during class time...Also, any emails I send go unanswered. Recently the teacher has begun helping with correctng work (quizzes, with a key, which i make up) but has yet to be involved with other grading.

    The sped teacher i worked with last year transferred to a different school & the replacement teacher is a veteran teacher from out-of-state. I was born and raised in-state, and am actually a graduate of the high school where i work.

    My biggest issue is that we have very different teaching styles. I'm waay more laid-back and I don't mind a "noisy" classroom. I can overlook a couple of students in the back whispering quickly, but i call them on it if it's excessive. Mostly by calling their names & asking htem to be quiet. I get an apology and we move on.

    My new co-teacher, however seems to ramp everything up to a "respect" issue/confrontation. This teacher quickly invokes a sharp tone and continues to tell them they're too old to behave the way they do, or that given the grade they're in, they should already have the knowldege they'r asking for (like the definition of a word) that previous students from where the teacher came from were more mature, etc.

    I'm not sure if this teacher even knows all the students by name/face yet. Teacher misread a name on a student's paper & called out for that student to come forward...but no one in either of our classes has that name!

    I don't interfere when this teacher is talking to a student, (i don't want the students to start thinking they can play us off each other) but I don't like much more than the student does, i think. To me, it comes across as a little over the top...

    Recently the teacher came to me to talk about how 2 students aren't listening/respecting & wanted me to talk to them...but wouldn't that reinforce they don't have to respect this teacher as much as me?

    I'm frustrated that on one hand, they want to be treated as a veteran teacher...but on the other...doesn't seem to plan/communicate/discipline as I'd expect a veteran teacher would!

    Any suggestions on how to talk to this teacher about our different teaching styles...?
     
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  3. Vievers

    Vievers Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2008

    I don't really know how to approach this... I am actually in the process of figuring it out myself. Just wanted to let you know that you are not the only member of a co-teaching "partnership" that isn't working well.
     
  4. JustineCase

    JustineCase Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2008

    Thank you for the support!

    I just wish that there were clear guidelines about how this co-teaching thing is supposed to work!

    ...whether or not we're expected to make up new curriculum ourselves, or just take turns leading out of the textbook... whether or not sped co-teacher is actually required to lead & if so, how many hours/classes? what is their responsibitlity for grading the non-sped portion of class..

    This teacher casually mentioned they take what I'm doing in class & uses it in their contained class... That's fine, but I feel kind of miffed, like this teacher is getting a free ride, not only in our co-taught classroom, but also doing curriculum for the other students...and what does that mean as far as modifications go?

    I honestly have not noticed this teacher doing any modifications of my work, quizzes...either in advance, or on the spot.... i just want to bang my head against the wall!!
     
  5. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

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    Oct 20, 2008

    I hated coteaching last year. There were some lessons that worked well, where we were able to collaborate and each do part. There was also one short unit that the special ed teacher took the lead on, which was great, but there were days when she was not there, for example, when there was some problem with IEP paperwork, and then I had trouble being the lead on her unit because I had not expected to that day and hadn't understood all the details.

    It was hard to really see that much benefit. I didn't feel that we made many modifications for the special ed kids, and I had actually hoped to learn more about that.

    We had some good parts of the year, but I often felt that we got in each other's way, and I did resent having to do all the grading! I think if we had worked together for another year, we would have worked out more ways of collaborating, but it was difficult to find the time to do that. I also think it might have worked better if we cotaught for more than one hour a day--we would have gotten more bang for our buck as far as planning, I think, if we had taught the same lesson twice in a day, or just worked on our routine more. Since she was in four other classes during the day, she was busy running around and keeping up with all those different lessons. And since I taught the same level by myself another period, it wasn't efficient to plan a lesson that made good use of two adults and then another variation to use when it was just me. I can sympathize with the difficulties of being in her job, too, but I must say she did not make my job much easier!
     
  6. Sheba

    Sheba Companion

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    Nov 2, 2008

    Hey there,

    I've known many English teachers in East Asia who have co-taught with native teachers and have done so myself with some classes. It rarely ever works out the way it's supposed to in theory. It almost always works out that in the classroom one teacher teaches and the other spends 95%+ of the time observing; one teacher does almost all of the assessing and marking; one teacher does almost all of the lesson planning.

    Unless you just happen to click remarkably well, expect to divide things up and trade on and off. To establish consistant disciplinary guidelines you pretty well have to decide that whoever's teaching will decide what is and isn't appropriate classroom behaviour, and that the other teacher will back them up and take their cues from whoever's teaching that day. It can be rather annoying sometimes, but you'll have to learn to live with it. Imagine having a classroom co-teacher who thinks nothing of strolling into class five minutes late after you've told off some students for being one minute late. Then she procedes to tell off some students for not wearing their uniforms properly when you told them to sit down and get started because you really don't care if their still half in their PE kit when it's time to start. Or imagine having a classroom co-teacher who tells kids to shut up after you've just got them started on pairs work that necessarily requires communication. Or a teacher who sits in the back in sleeps or plays with her cell phone, setting a wonderful model of indolency. Or best of all one who strolls around the classroom randomly hitting students, causing at least as much disruption as it stops.

    In some cases unless they absolutely have to be there for some reason (disabled student or whatever), it might just be better to keep the idea on paper but in reality just teach solo.
     
  7. SciTeacherNY

    SciTeacherNY Companion

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    Nov 2, 2008

    Like you, I co-teach this year and have co-taught in the past. I believe co-teaching goes the way the two teachers want it to go. How do you feel more comfortable running your class? If you would like more actual co-teaching I suggest you bring it up. Like if you have powerpoint maybe you read one slide and then she reads the next.

    Last year, I did 99% of the planning, teaching, and grading. The co-teacher primarily would keep track of the resource room kids and walk around the room when we would do activities.

    This year (new teacher) is always asking me what he/she can do to help me (making copies, modifying, grading) He/she also helps me teach the lesson and circulated the room.
     
  8. resourcestress

    resourcestress Rookie

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    Nov 2, 2008

    In my co-teach the administration doesn't want the sepc. ed. teacher to teach. We are there for the spec. ed. students, to modify curriculum work with them and data collection. So that makes it hard for me as I don't see their grades (I'm not the teacher of record) I don't see their work and I don't know who has completed what. I also don't know all the gen ed students' names...sorry but the room is constantly changing. That bothers me also, students talk over instruction, change seats to be with friends...I'm the type that has to have a fairly quiet room and everyone in their seat. I hate co-teach...I hate special ed.
     
  9. JustineCase

    JustineCase Rookie

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    Nov 3, 2008

    what kind of data collection? and how do you appropriately modify their curriculum work if you don't get to see their grades? Do you correct the sped students work or does the gen ed teacher do that? Or do you mean the gen ed students work? Do you consider the whole class "your" students or just the sped students assigned to you?
     
  10. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Nov 3, 2008

    Justine,
    The problem you have described is very common with inclusion co-teaching. The roles are never terribly defined, and both teachers tend to feel very frustrated. I've been in your shoes. I know exactly what you are talking about.

    Here is the way it is supposed to work when it comes to modification. Suppose you have a test. It has 10 multiple choice, 5 fill-in-the-blank (no word bank), 5 matching, and one short answer. You might give this to the sped resource teacher ahead of time, and typically this is the modification you would see:

    Instead of 4 answer choices for each multiple choice question, the sped teacher would black out one answer, so there are only 3 choices. This is called reducing the distractors. The sped teacher has the expertise to know which one distractor to appropriately remove.

    For the fill-in-the-blank questions, the sped teacher would add a word bank for students to choose from.

    For the matching -- matching is not usually appropriate for learning disabled students, so the sped teacher might modify this by making your matching questions into multiple choice questions, so the student would not have to try and draw a line from one item to another. The sped teacher might add a graphic to each item, if appropriate. (So if the choice was Helen Keller,and it was supposed to be matched to "Advocate for people with disabilities." the sped teacher might add a graphic of Helen Keller next to the words "Helen Keller.")


    For the short answer, the sped teacher would allow the student to dictate the answer, and it would not be counted down for poor grammar, poor sentence structure, or incomplete sentences.

    Another example -- for a reading test, the sped teacher might provide the student with a graphic organizer to use during the reading selection, and to refer back to while answer questions.
     

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