ProTeacher Community

ProTeacher Community (
-   Special Education (
-   -   Other Co-Teaching (

sha-nay-nay 04-11-2019 02:19 PM

Who has experienced Co-Teaching? What does it look like? How does it work for you, the students? What about students that are working 2+ years behind their peers?

I am trying to figure it all out as we will be moving in that direction next year. I like the idea and understand the philosophy behind it, but worry about the kiddo that requires much more direct instruction than can be provided in the gen ed classroom. How do we provide support in the classroom and provide the additional support to those little ones who are further behind?

Haley23 04-11-2019 04:03 PM

I've always hated it/avoided it at all costs. Good thing you have the better attitude since you'll be doing it :). I think it can work well in more affluent areas where the students with "disabilities" aren't very far behind. My dad works as a sped teacher in the wealthiest district in his state. The majority of students his school identifies would not even be on the radar for needing intervention at my school. It works really well for a lot of his students as they really just need support to stay on grade level. Those with true disabilities often have parents who are making up for what the school isn't providing - i.e. he has kids that literally go to a 1:1 Orton Gillingham certified tutor for 60-90 minutes every day after school.

At my school, we don't even really consider identifying students unless they are 2 or more years behind. I absolutely feel like my students need the specialized instruction outside of the classroom. We are almost always working on skills that are no longer being taught at grade level, and a significant portion of my day is spent on just teaching kids how to read in the first place. Most of my students need thousands if not millions of repetitions for each reading skill in order to master it. Co-teaching a main idea lesson with their gen ed teacher would do absolutely nothing for them.

Besides that, in every situation where I've seen co-teaching, the sped teacher is basically treated like an aide. The gen ed teacher is teaching while the sped teacher walks around and manages behavior, helps kids who raise their hand, etc. Maybe she gets to pull a small group to the side to help them with an assignment the teacher gives if she's lucky.

My district makes a big show of "moving toward co-teaching" every single year, and comes to the same conclusion every year that it's not going to work. I've always said if they ever truly did make me do it, I'd try to do small groups within the gen ed room as much as possible. "Station teaching" is one of the six methods of co-teaching. That way, both teachers are actually teaching, each can have some sort of control over her own station, and you can differentiate to teach to varying skill levels, so at least you can get some of the skills based instruction in that the lowest students need.

How many classes will you be in each day? I'd try to schedule things so that you're there for small group time as much as possible. I'd also meet with the gen ed teachers and establish expectations and what you both want things to look like so you're on the same page before it starts.

needsadvice 04-13-2019 05:22 AM

Haley23's hit the nail on the head. This is the big new trend in special education. I have seen it in every grade level, and frankly do not think this is the best strategy for special ed. kids. It sometimes works for those kids that are very motivated, have parent involvement and aren't that far behind in academics. We are often used as an aide, walking around the room to guide behavior and help our kids keep up. Depending on the general education teacher, they aren't always so keen in our students being in the class, or even the RSP teacher being there. I believe there should be a choice depending on the needs of the student. Where is the I (Individual) in IEP, when there often is no choice but co-teaching at the high school or middle school? I am now at a elementary school and am doing this for the 4th and 5th graders, but how do they expect me to be in all 28 of my students' classrooms? Kids generally like coming in and getting more help through the pull out model. If they ask me to do this at all level, frankly it will be my time to retire.

teabreak 04-13-2019 08:12 AM

I love it
I really enjoy co-teaching. I don't work in an affluent school and I have students in my classes that are 4-5 years behind (high school). The beauty of my situation is that I am in 1 subject area, 1 grade level, and work with 3 different teachers. We all do PLC together so that is helpful, but I would say the biggest need for co-teaching is common planning time.

If I don't have a common planning time with my co-teachers, then I am just a glorified aide in the room. Getting this time isn't easy either, but since our admin believes in the co-teaching model, they work really hard to schedule the common time at least once a week for us.

The other piece I would mention, is that both teachers need to be on board and know the different teaching models, expectations, and teaching styles of each other. I generally tell any new teachers I work with that they are the content specialist and I am the one that will differentiate.

I'm on year 9 of co-teaching and I think longevity with a good partner teacher is a must. Both you and your co-teacher need to sit down and determine how you want the room to run and see when you can have that common time. That would be my strongest advice.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:41 AM.

Copyright © ProTeacher®
For individual use only. Do not copy, reproduce or transmit.