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First Time Co-Teacher
Old 05-17-2017, 03:21 PM
 
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I'm starting at a new school in September where I will be co-teaching with 2-3 different teachers and this will be my first time co-teaching. By definition, the teachers I will be working with are in charge of delivering content and I will be in charge of pedagogy and maintaining student involvement (more or less I guess I'm an assistant). I'm a little nervous that this will be a difficult transition for me since I've spend the last 3 years as the lead (and only) teacher in the classroom. My new principal said that whatever co-teaching model works for us she is completely fine with...as long as we are getting along and providing effective instruction.

How do I convey to my co-teachers that I would prefer the team teaching model or something similar where the students will not perceive me as an assistant and not equal teacher in the classroom?

Or does anyone have any advice for a first time co-teacher?



Thanks,
Kimm


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Old 05-17-2017, 04:06 PM
 
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One of my previous co-teaching experience was a disaster, lol. I completely understand your concerns.
I'd be upfront about exactly what you said and see what they think about it. Like with the team-teaching model, how comfortable are they doing that? How will you plan lessons together? Do you want to take turns introducing different topics??
I've team taught on occasion but when it's gone well it's good with someone I know well.
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Old 05-20-2017, 06:54 AM
 
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I've team taught in some aspect the majority of my last 10 years... I've had good/great experiences and some "let's just get through the year" experiences. What has worked for my team:
- Open and honest communication: be up front about your skills set, hopes, idea of how the class can run. Be specific about examples of how you can be utilized in the classroom. One year I was co-teaching a Math block. The SPED teacher gave the suggestion that she run the Mad Minute every morning and then I would teach the main lesson. Then we would break into small groups for Guided & Independent practice. We made sure to switch up the groups so that there was never a "those are Mrs. So and So's students". Also, we made it clear that we both were teacher's in the classroom; I.e do not "mommy / daddy" us. If one teacher gave a direction or expectation then it was expected to be followed. If we had a disagreement on the way something should have been handled we would talk during our common planning time.
- Common planning time: This is a great time to talk about what's working and not working. Plan group projects that you can lead, how to rearrange small groups, etc..
- Small group instruction: This is my favorite and IMO the best use of the team teaching model. With 2 certified and experienced teachers your students are getting the BENEFIT of small group instruction.
- Parent / Teacher communication: it is important that you show a united front to both the students and parents. This means at Open House, Back to School night,etc. my partner teacher and I both speak. We each share a portion of our day's schedule. We both provide discipline, follow up with parents, and do grades. Additionally, we both sit in at all student parent teacher conferences (we each speak of the areas we have worked with their child in the classroom. Also, it's a benefit to have backup if it's a difficult conversation; i.e. Behavior, more intervention needed).

This is off the top of my head. Teacher's can be territorial, however, some of my best teaching experiences have been in the co-teaching model. Change takes time but hopefully you'll find an arrangement that works for your team.
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