Collaboration can happen in the classroom.
You are a special education teacher and you have to work with a teacher, who everyone has said, is a horrible co-teacher. You get nervous because you do not want to step on any toes in another person’s classroom. You walk in and see the teacher, smiling and she says “Hi!”
Or imagine you are a general education teacher, who has been told that you are going to have an inclusion teacher with you, whether you like it or not. You are frustrated because this is your classroom and your last few experiences have not gone well. So when the Special education teacher walks into the room, you take a deep breath and smile, and say “Hi!”
Have you ever felt either way? Co-Teaching/Collaboration is a tricky situation to be in the classroom for either the special education or general education teacher. Co-Teaching is similar to being in a marriage. At the beginning of the year, everything is rosy and could either end up in divorce by Winter Break, or the marriage could be working and getting stronger every day.
Collaboration and inclusion can be a great opportunity for all those involved which means more learning opportunities for the students and teachers.
What is Co-Teaching/Collaboration?
Co-teaching is when two or more educators share a classroom and provide instruction to a group of students. Collaboration takes effort and time but can provide more opportunities for growth, rather than causing difficulty.
What’s the benefit of this type of teaching?
Co-teaching allows the students to have two teachers in the classroom and be able to work with a variety of students. It really makes the classroom more fun for everyone, if completed correctly.
Imagine if a student clicks better with you than the other teacher and vice versa.
6 steps to making it a GREAT experience:
Rapport: You don’t have to be best friends but try to enjoy each other’s presence.
Teaching Style: Both identify your different teaching styles and use them to create your own style for the classroom.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Discuss each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Figure out how you can complement each other in the classroom.
Students with Special Accommodations: Talk about any students who have IEPs, ELL, or 504s and how to cover all their different needs.
Work Together: Come up with a plan of action for the entire school year, create a united front, and stick to it!
Take Risks: Think outside of the box when it comes to lessons and activities!! To be successful at all in the classroom… you have to talk with each other… and keep each other informed about what is happening with all the students in the classroom.