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smeag smeag is offline
 
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Co-Teaching Help!!!
Old 02-26-2018, 06:01 PM
 
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I work in an all-day inclusion room. I am the regular education teacher, and I co-teach with a special education teacher. We are both in the classroom at all times and share the room. This is my first year at this school, teaching first grade, and she recently changed grade levels, so this has been new for both of us. She made it clear to me before school started that she did not want to feel like she was only in charge of the SPED students, and didn't want to feel like an assistant to the rest of the class. I agreed that I did not want her to feel this way, and so we made a plan to co-teach. We split subjects up to take the lead on when planning, we made it clear at the beginning of the year that our classroom had two teachers, so there was no split in the class. We started off the year with A LOT of behavior problems in he class. We have 18 students, 6 which now have an IEP. There are different behavior charts, plans of action put into place (for any chair or other object throwing that occurs), and it's a lot to keep up with, but we try our best. I feel that my co-teacher is very unhappy with the grade level move and going back to being a SPED teacher instead of being the only teacher in the classroom. With everything happening in our room this year, she began to feel that she was just a 1-1 to those students or an assistant. I tried to compromise with her and support her, and support those students more while trying to juggle the rest of the class, though I am not SPED certified and feel like I don't know what I'm doing most of the time. However, she constantly tells me still that she doesn't feel included, or that she never knows what is going on when I am teaching a subject (even though I write my lessons way in advance with detail and we go over them the week before). I feel that I'm constantly being attacked for my teaching style, and any decisions that I make with any of the students. When she brings up an idea to use in the classroom, I'm open with her and tell her to do what she wants and that it's her classroom too, but she still is making me feel like I'm not treating her as an equal. I'm unsure if it's a power struggle, and I'm wondering if anyone has ever been in this position before and how you've handled it?! I have taught with 2 other co-teachers in different school and have not experienced this before. I had different teaching styles then them, but we always made it work to create a positive environment. I'm at a total loss, as teaching first grade has been my dream, and I came into the year excited and positive - but now I feel defeated, attacked, and mostly negative energy towards me, personally. I don't want to have to ask to change my grade level, but I'm feeling like I might have to Thoughts and helpful tips from anyone?!? Thank you!


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hard situation
Old 02-26-2018, 06:47 PM
 
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I think you are in a really tough situation. It seems like she came in at the beginning with an attitude of mistrust.

Everything you mentioned is really vague and if this is how she is presenting it to you, I can see why you're at a loss.

I think I would ask her specifically what she needs from you to feel included. I would ask her to give me specifics on what I was doing that made her feel unequal. Until she does a better job of communicating what it is exactly that is bothering her, you have no idea what she needs.

I think it might help to sit down with her (maybe off campus at a Starbucks) and have an honest conversation about what is going on and what both of you need.
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Old 02-26-2018, 11:39 PM
 
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I think she would rather be the classroom teacher and is not happy in the position... It sounds like you have done a wonderful job of trying to make it work and have such an inclusive philosophy. I don't know what else you could do differently, so I don't know if she will change. Somehow she is making it like you have to try to keep pleasing her, I don't think you should feel like that because you are already doing everything you can. Why did she have to switch to the position?
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Old 02-27-2018, 03:43 AM
 
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Thanks for the support! She chose to switch from 2nd to 1st because she said that she needed a change. She talked about how she didn't get along with the other 2nd grade teacher across the hall, and that she wanted to try to go back to SPED. I do think she is unhappy, but I'm unsure of how to approach this. She called me on Sunday (my only day to relax!) to tell me how she was feeling again. It seems like every few weeks she's bringing up something else, and I always try to understand and fix what I can, but this time I just feel like I've done what I can, and she's still not happy. I didn't really respond much over the phone because I was more in shock, and didn't really speak much to her yesterday because I'm still trying to process everything.

I'm looking for a way to approach her unhappiness in the room, without her feeling like I'm the one attacking her 🙁
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Old 02-27-2018, 04:04 AM
 
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I think you should possibly involve a meeting with an administrator if she is this unhappy... she called u at home? I wouldn’t try to figure any more ways to make her happy, you’re already wearing yourself out trying...and just say okay when she says these things and keep movingbin with the day. Document everything you have said to her. I think whenever there are behavior issues, then the coteaching and having aides in the room can get complicated.



Last edited by elmo33; 02-28-2018 at 01:47 AM.. Reason: too long
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Co-Teaching is not for everyone...
Old 02-27-2018, 09:43 AM
 
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It sounds like she was not a fan of being a co-teacher from the start, and the chemistry does not seem to be working. If this was not a move she requested, and as you say, the grade level is new to her, she might resent the move and is taking it out on you. If you are giving her the freedom to pursue her own ideas and lessons when it is her turn, I'm not sure what her issues are. One of my colleagues had this issue last year. The special ed. teacher was placed in a special needs kindergarten class this year and the regular ed. teacher was given a new partner. The new teacher has a much different personality, and everything is working out much better for them. It sounds like your post could have been written by the regular ed. colleague last year. I would have an honest conversation with her sharing your feelings and let her share hers. Then, the two of you could hopefully plan together on how you will go from here. It sounds like she needs to request a new placement if she is not happy.
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Old 02-27-2018, 03:48 PM
 
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I coteach, but we're constantly in groups. We are only in whole group for maybe the first 10 minutes of the lesson to introduce or take notes. We base the groups heterogeneously and homogeneously for different activities, so it's not always the same students you are working with. I plan for my groups and my coteacher plans for her groups. I suggest switching to more guided groups instead of anything whole group.
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Old 02-27-2018, 07:42 PM
 
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You said what I was thinking. With 18 kids it should be mostly small groups all day long.
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Old 02-28-2018, 03:14 AM
 
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Thanks for your input! We do mostly small groups all day. We do daily 5 during literacy centers, math workshop, and during shared reading and writing - we have a mini lesson, and then pull small groups while the other students work independently. The only subject we don't really work in groups is science because we have a short lesson, and then the students break off and work with their partner.

We've tried to mix up our groups (as in we would split the SPED students between us, and also pull a few higher kids to ease the tension in the group), but she's still unhappy with this.

I also had our guided reading groups set up so that we would both see all 5 groups at some point during the week, as per her request because she was feeling like she was always "stuck" with the low guys, but she recently said that she couldn't keep up with preparing materials for 5 groups, so we went back to her working with our 2 low groups, and me with the other 3.

I feel like we are trying, but it's still not working! 😞
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Old 02-28-2018, 03:17 AM
 
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Thank you! We have had a few times where we've sat down and talked, later changing things up in the classroom to make her feel more included. We are going to sit down after school this week to talk again, but sometimes it's feeling like no matter how many discussions we have and what we change up in the classroom - it's still not working!


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Old 02-28-2018, 06:17 AM
 
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It does sound like she does not really want to be the SPED teacher. From what you have shared, you have given her more opportunity to be the get ed teacher in the room than another co-teacher would, as officially that is not her title. I agree with getting admin involved, IF you think they can be helpful in brainstorming ideas or clarifying roles and expectations.
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Old 02-28-2018, 03:51 PM
 
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I can understand how your co-teacher would want to co-teach but she is the special ed support teacher and that is her assignment. She should not be telling you what she wants to do or not do in your classroom. She is responsible for differentiating the special ed students' lessons and assessments while making sure that the students are satisfying the goals and objectives in their IEPs that need to be met. She has very clear responsibilities that she must meet.

I feel that she should be following your lead and by providing her with your lesson plans in advance this allows her to give you input that you may or may not want to use. I think that you have tried this co-teaching approach and now it is time to take the reins back and nicely suggest that your co-teacher concentrate on her students as this is where her expertise could best be used.

I don't think you need to make a grade level change or need to feel defeated. This special ed teacher is unhappy and seems to be creating an unhappy atmosphere. Don't let her steal your joy!

PS I am an inclass special ed support teacher and follow my co-teacher's lead and willingly work with all students while concentrating on my group.

Last edited by MightyTeach; 02-28-2018 at 03:52 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:19 AM
 
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I agree with Mighty Teach
"Don't let her steal your joy"
Coteaching either works or it doesn't depending on the people involved. It can either be hell or heaven. I've had both with teachers and paras.
She is doing inclusion with you for the sped students.
I also think other things are going on with her besides the classroom.
She didn't get along with the second grade teacher and now is having problems working with you
Don't change grade levels if you are happy in 1st.
Spring break is coming, summer is coming and I doubt you will be working with her next year
It's not you and you've got this !!!
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