In order for collaboration to be effective, you need time to plan together. If you don't have the time to discuss plans, review upcoming tests, consider recommended modifications and implementation of I.E.P. goals, it will be difficult if not impossible to have a successful inclusive classroom.
Some teachers and school administrators believe that co-teaching should be voluntary. We have learned that, when a new co-teaching initiative begins in a district, it is best to start small and with teachers who are willing to experiment, if possible. By using this approach, a school can work out any major issues before implementing the co-teaching initiative school or district-wide.
Simple – the math teacher understood the math at a deeper level. In this case, she was able to present the math concept in ways that the special education teacher didn’t know because that was her area of expertise. She came up with four or five different approaches to teach the concept while the special educator was able to teach the larger group in the way that the teacher’s manual presented it. While that was fine for the main body of students who were at grade level, it didn’t work for the ones who were struggling.
I'm often asked how it is possible for two teachers to co-teach in the same room at the same time without distracting students. In all honesty, in all my years of coaching co-teachers, I've never seen students get distracted by parallel teaching. Rather, it's the teachers who get distracted. This is especially true if one of the co-teachers is a control freak who is too concerned about what the other teacher is saying to focus on her half of the class. I make that statement with compassion and understanding. It's so difficult to let go, especially, when you care about your students and their success.
There are many different approaches to co-teaching and it is important to choose the one that will work best for both you and your students. First, it's important to know your options.