Are You Co-Teaching? Offer Your Advice to a Rookie from On Special Education - Education Week, Christina Samuels mentions,
“I'm searching for tips from co-teachers about how to make a co-teaching partnership work from day one, and I want to hear from you!”
Co-teaching takes a lot of preplanning and teamwork for it to be successful. Two teachers need to be willing to compromise, work together, and put any ego trips aside. No teacher should think they are the main teacher or allow students, parents, and administrators to think that either.
I thought I would share some tips. These are not in any order of priority but rather in the order as they pop into my head.
- Communication is the key. Decide together what the best way to communicate with each other on a daily basis. I had some friends who talked every morning by phone on the way to work to plan their day. This is the time they liked to bounce ideas off of each other, vent about students, or celebrate successes. I liked to meet at least once a week to plan for the upcoming week.
- Plan for the year on the topics that are going to be taught and a tentative calendar for this plan. This can be adjusted as needed but I need a framework to start with.
- Divide teacher responsibilities for the topic. When planning the topic, decide who is going to introduce the lesson and teach the content. Discuss what activities will be used to reinforce the lesson. Are there going to be different groups? Who is responsible for copying material or gathering supplies? Do not assume anything, even the little details. W
- Decide what assessments are going to be used to find out if the students mastered the skill or content. Are there different ability levels? Will there be different assessments? Will a small group need extra help like oral reading of the test?
- Decide who is going to record grades. Who is going to call parents if there is a problem? Who is going to handle any administrative tasks that may be involved?
- Decide on how you are going to handle disagreements. Treat this partnership like a marriage and plan on talking to each other first if you are unhappy about something. Agree that you won’t talk behind each other’s backs. There must be trust from each teacher for co-teaching to be successful.
Do you have any other tips? Please share.