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Co-Teaching
Old 06-24-2010, 08:57 PM
 
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Hi there everyone! I will be teaching 2nd grade special education as a first-year teacher very soon. I am so excited, but also a bit hesitant. I will be responsible for some pull-out classes as well as co-teaching in the general education classroom.

My highest concern as a special education teacher is collaborating with other teachers in co-teaching and so forth. I just hope that I am able to teach rather than observe. In the interview I was reassured that that would not be the case. I am keeping a positive outlook and look forward to this responsiblity. The reason that I am a bit hesitant about this situation is because I know that not everyone is so positive about teaching with a newbie or even collaborating with a special education teacher. I've subbed in several districts and grade levels and I've heard mixed reviews from teachers about co-teaching with some positive comments, but mostly negative feelings/comments.

How can I prevent this from becoming a negative experience for myself, my co-teacher, and the students? What does the general education teacher want from me? I plan on asking my co-teacher this question, but I'd also like to know how others bluntly feel.

I will take all of the advice that I can get. Thank-you!


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In My Experience....
Old 06-24-2010, 09:42 PM
 
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...the best co-taught classrooms are those where you walk in and you can't tell who is the reg. ed. teacher and who is the sped. ed. teacher. All communications sent home have both teacher's names on them, all planning is done together and teaching is a tag team event! That is the most effective way to co-teach. Believe me, I've seen amazing results from classrooms run this way. However, many teachers have issues letting go of any kind of control in their classrooms. Usually, what happens is the Spec. Ed. teacher will work with all kids and help them out while the reg. ed teacher does the teaching and assigning.

Ideally, you should be there when she plans to help implement the accomodations/modifications in the IEPs of the students in the classroom. You're really there to make her life easier when it comes to differentiation!

Good luck. I am doing some co-teaching in a whole new environment myself this year and I'm anxious about what is going to happen.
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princess and teach
Old 07-06-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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The best advise I can give is to take the time and talk with the co-teacher and discuss what she thinks co-teaching is to her/him. Then share your concerns. yes you are mainly there to protect the special ed kids but you will find the others will benefit also. Don't make the mistake and take your little group into the corner to present the lesson in a different way. That is not co-teaching it is just RR in the regular classroom in which general ed kids benefit.
They provide the curriculum you provide the know how with alternative and effective strategies. Just remember to communicate, communicate, communicate......
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:48 PM
 
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Common planning time I think is key when co-teaching. The first year or two my coteacher and I actually scripted what we were each going to do. In this way, the class immediately sees you are a teacher in the room and not a Para. You have to be willing to talk honestly with your coteacher as to what each of you expects from the students, the school year and each other. Don't be discouraged if the first year does not go as smoothly as you would like. They say it takes about 3 years for a team to really mesh their styles and make it seem effortless.
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Co-teaching professional development
Old 07-08-2010, 08:21 PM
 
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I just attended a professional development workshop on this very topic. The guest speaker, Dr. Wendy Murawski, defines co-teaching as co-planning, co-teaching, and co-assessing. As a general educator, I agree it is tough to find common planning time with a special educator, but as long as the other was willing, I would meet before or after school if needed to get their input. But I haven't always had that kind of "co-teacher." In the past, I did have that person who would basically walk in, learn then what we were doing, and sit in the back with the only the kids on her caseload. Definitely not what I preferred and more importantly, not in the best interests of the kids. I'm glad you're wanting to get this process started with finding out best practices for co-teaching. Anyway, Dr. Murawski's website is below:

http://www.2teachllc.com/

There are some resources, sample lesson plans, a lesson plan template, etc. that are geared towards co-teaching, particularly in the inclusive classroom. Good luck!


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