Co-teaching, team teaching

This year at the school I work at, we are going to doing some team teaching in various grades. Hopefully it will be a great opportunity for teachers to collaborate in greater depth and learn from each other. Being a diverse group of international and local teachers, young and old(er), we all bring something different to the table and I am hoping this scheduling will give people a chance to be more reflective and constructive in their feedback and delivery of the curriculum. We are meeting next week to discuss it all further and talk about some of the links shared.

One recent one that I came across through middleweb.com is this post by Elizabeth Stein. I thought her reflective questions were thought-provoking – not just thinking about something you did in the classroom, but also what impact it had on the learning for students. You can read her post here. She also talks about co-teaching and 5 key questions to ask yourselves as a co-teaching team – they are practical questions that need the time spending on them so as to iron out unnecessary confusion as to who does what and when.

To paraphrase, the questions to discuss with your partner are:

1. How will introduce ourselves to our students? (setting the tone, acknowledging and appreciating what both teachers bring to the classroom).

2. Do you have any pet peeves? (open communication with each other is important for the relationship to develop, remember its professional not personal)

3. When will we plan together? (not on your own, or a 5 minute discussion before the lesson, but dedicated time together)

4. What classroom management practices shall we put in place? (does everyone know the boundaries?)

5. How will we share the instructional responsibilities? (who does what, when, how and with who?)

A further article which was helpful in clarifying what team teaching is was this one from Scholastic. The article got us started on thinking about the kind of working relationship to develop with our partners and is well worth the read if this is something you too are embarking on this academic year.