A frequently used co-teaching model is “One Teach, One Support” or, by another name, “One Teach, One Observe.” This is one of several effective ways to co-teach that allows for flexibility in teaching methods: it can help teachers learn to work together smoothly as they observe each other’s teaching styles; teachers can switch quickly between the teacher and support/observer roles; and they can transition quickly into the next chunk of the class period, such as moving from direct instruction to student implementation.

Co-teaching Models - One Teach, One Gather DataTo an outsider, though, the co-teacher who is observing or supporting doesn’t appear to be doing anything. That can cause some misunderstandings with administrators or even other teachers in the staff room. “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to have a job where I just sit around in the back of the room and help kids?” other teachers might say.

There’s a simple way to defeat that: carry a clipboard and a pen. Collect some data. So, rather than “One Teach, One Support,” the model becomes “One Teach, One Collect Data.”

Now, the notes you take depend on the lesson and the classroom, of course, and they should be agreed upon with your co-teacher beforehand. For example—you can take notes on student behavior, on which students have their books open, or on which students need more support. Write it down. Are there students who are off task? Check that off next to their name. Students who make a positive impact on the day? Note that, too. Include comments, if you have time.

Use those notes to adjust teaching plans. For example, a comment on your clipboard may read, “At 10:45, teaching biome, 6 students were not paying attention.” When you debrief with your co-teacher after the lesson, you can discuss why the students were checked out mentally and what you can do to change that in the following lessons.

Use that data to adjust lessons. Use that data to support students. But most importantly, carry that darn clipboard so that to outsiders it looks like you’re doing something. Because you and I know that you are, but it lessens friction between your colleagues or administrators when you’re outside the classroom.

Best Practices in Co-teaching & CollaborationExplore even more tips, tools, and resources for collaboration at TheHowofCo-teaching.com!

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