“There is no “I” in TEAM.” Somebody said this, but I don’t know who, sorry.
A book would not be able to cover this topic, but I do want to mention it since:
- I have done it for over five years.
- I believe in it wholeheartedly and feel it will be used more in the future.
In the best case scenario, if you teach collaboratively, you will be able to choose your partner, but this is not always the case. I didn’t really get to choose my co-teacher but god smiled on me and I got an angel. I don’t mention other teachers in this guidebook, but you can see a picture of her if you go to my website, hint, hint. www.gradesuccessinc.com
You need to respect each other and acknowledge what each of you can bring to the teaching table. It is important to divide and conquer whenever possible. If you think that two people in the classroom reduces your workload, you are sadly mistaken.
You need to do lesson plans together and constantly discuss students in depth. This is a difficult job to do with someone else, but I think it is invaluable to the students. Just think of all the things that have to be delegated.
There are many collaborative teaching approaches.
- One teaches, one roams
- Both teach different parts of the lesson
- One does the content and one focuses on various learning styles
Many times you have to learn your rhythm, “on the fly”. You can not create this winning team overnight. My co-teacher and I weren’t really comfortable until our third year together. We are always in the process of tweaking and refining our approaches.
The most difficult thing for me was to give up some of my territory. As I mentioned before, I tend to be territorial. Now, I am happy to let my co-teacher share the responsibility of delivering the lesson. It gives me time to visit with each student personally during the class period. I feel that I am truly bonding with the students. If done right, Collaborative Teaching can improve the fluidity and functionality of any classroom.