Thursday, November 22, 2007

Co-teaching (Elizabeth Conte)

Question: Elizabeth,
I know what an extraordinary educator you are and I learned so much from watching you. Now that you are working with your fantastic co-teacher, Randi, What are the perks and obstacles that you have found since recently becoming a co-teacher? any suggestions for the first year teacher who will most likely be co-teaching in the near future?

Oh Danielle, you make me smile!

Co-teaching is very different from single teaching. Here are the perks and obstacles we have found so far this year:


  • Finding a teacher who shares my philosophy and passion for students was key to making our co-teaching situation work. A big bonus was finding someone who values family-life as much as I do and understands when I need to be mommy or wife instead of teacher!
  • We keep each other motivated and challenge each other to continually strive to improve as teachers.

  • Learning how to parallel teach and finding that it truly impacts students' learning in a very positive way. it takes a lot more planning and preparation, but it's so worth it!

  • You don't have to write sub plans when your co-teacher is going to be out... wow, that's a relief.

  • You know that old saying, "Two heads are better than one," Well, it's true. I learn so much from Randi every day!

  • Reaching all your students, especially those low babies, is more realistic in a so-teaching situation. We both are teaching mini-lessons for each workshop and pulling small groups or conferencing one on one during work periods. We don't job share...we are both teaching all day long.


  • Getting used to saying "we" instead of "I" when I communicate with parents. I was so used to saying "I" or just signing my name to took me a while, but I think I've got it now.

  • Time, time, time... co-teaching is not a time-saving strategy. You have to plan together, reflect together, conference with parents together, etc... the list goes on and one. Be prepared to spend time on the phone with you co-teacher.

  • I have an easy-going personality and can be quite flexible when it comes to my classroom...this really helped when transitioning to co-teaching. As long as you keep flexible and are ok with re-developing your classroom together, this won't be an obstacle

Suggestions for Danielle:

  • Really put some thought into who you might co-teach with. Look for someone who shares your teaching style, discipline style and philosophical beliefs about teaching and children.
  • Think about your reason for co-teaching---it really can be a great benefit for students, but only if you have the right mindset going into it.

  • Should you decide to co-teach, be prepared to learn SO MUCH and establish a great relationship with your "partner." It really can be a WONDERFUL thing!

  • Always know, my door is always open and my phone is never turned off, should you need a listening ear or some hopeful advice.


1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Thank you for sharing your wisdom on co-teaching. You and Randi really are the ideal model for a win-win situation. I couldn't agree with your suggestion more-- Finding the perfect co-teacher really is essential. Most teachers in a successful co-teach situation never want to go back to teaching on their own.