When co-teachers have a strategy in place, the entire classroom experience can go smoothly. Creating a co-teaching model strategy takes time, something teachers have precious little of. Yet it’s essential to carve out a few minutes, particularly with a new co-teacher, to get to know each other, establish expectations and put together a strategy that ensures students get the best learning experience from your collaborative efforts.
Limited time means it’s important to make the most of your planning sessions together. Establish a time and place to meet regularly, and ask the following questions in order to plan the effective, ongoing meetings with your co-teacher:
- How much time do we need to plan?
- When will we make the time to plan?
- What checks can we put in place to ensure we use our time effectively?
- What documentation or materials should we bring to the planning meeting with us?
Co-teachers need to address a number of questions about how they’ll collaborate to teach the class. It is difficult to answer all of those questions in a single planning session, which is why setting a regular meeting time and having a list of topics to discuss for each meeting is important.
Questions for planning your co-teaching models:
- How will we determine the content to be taught? Will we use curriculum compacting, curriculum mapping data, or state standards to target the most critical content?
- Who will plan what content?
- How will the co-teacher implement instruction?
- How will we decide who teaches what?
- How will we present the content? Will one person do all the direct teaching or will both share responsibility for teaching the lesson?
- Who creates curriculum adaptations, accommodations, and modifications?
- Who adapts the tests?
- How will we use our strengths in the classroom when planning instruction?
- Should we rotate responsibilities?
The above questions are just a sample of the strategies you’ll need to develop as co-teachers, and mainly cover the general plan for how the class will progress. Undoubtedly, you’ll need to discuss strategies for unplanned-for situations in the classroom. How can you as co-teachers ensure regular communication with each other, and what is the best way to address your communication needs? If there’s a conflict or concern with your co-teacher, how will you handle it to preserve the harmony of your relationship? Further, how will you each handle behavioral issues in the classroom? Which of you will communicate with parents about anything from routine daily occurrences to unusual situations?
These planning sessions are invaluable for co-teachers to learn what they need to know about each other, as well. What’s important to each of you in the co-teaching relationship? What are your expectations of each other? What can you not tolerate in a co-teacher?
Through regular, structured co-teaching meetings, you’ll build a strategy and get to know each other better, and be that much more effective in the classroom. It’s well worth it to make the time!
Explore even more tips, tools, and resources for collaboration at TheHowofCo-teaching.com!
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