Co-Teaching – A Dream Job

Consider this: two teachers per room. Extra eyes, hands, ears, and brains. With two scanning the room, student questions are answered more quickly; one teacher can handle discipline issues as the other continues teaching; and each teacher could supervise a separate learning center, providing simultaneous instruction. For language immersion programs, with co-teaching, there are two teachers, each excelling in a different language, so students can hear and use both English and a second language on a daily basis. 

When I teach workshops on co-teaching, I often ask participants what they love to teach. With two teachers, each could focus more on his or her areas of strength and the responsibilities for other areas can be shared. So if you are a photographer, perhaps you can bring photos into the class, provide the concrete visuals, to support learning. If you are a musician or love music, perhaps you find music to represent the subject matter.  Music from different historical eras, countries, or cultures. If you sing, perhaps you help students develops raps as mnemonic devices.  With two teachers, the burden does not fall on one person to be everything to everyone. The workload is shared, the grading is shared, and even communication with parents can be shared.

With two teachers who are both using time efficiently in a classroom, student productivity should improve. After all, instead of one teacher trying to meet the needs of 25 students, the workload may be split. With two teachers, it is easier to schedule “think alouds” with the teachers modeling how they problem solve together. Even such tasks as warm-ups and reviews can be split, so that teachers take turns being responsible for those elements of a lesson plan.

For students with IEPs, it is a natural for the teacher with the special education credentials to spend more time implementing specific plans for students with IEPs and other students with special learning needs. Co-teaching can also be  implemented with teaching assistants who assume responsibility for maintaining high levels of student engagement, assisting with technology, or re-teaching materials to students who have been absent or have had difficulties with specific lessons.

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