By: Jessica Reed, MA
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 reminds be of 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 everyday. I have been in both seats as the general education teacher and special education teacher. I am going to share with you some tips to make this collaboration a positive one using Google.
What is Co-Teaching?
Co–teaching is when two or more educators share a classroom and provide instruction to a group of students.
What’s the benefit of this type of teaching?
Co-Teaching allows the students to have 2 teachers in the classroom…
Imagine if a student clicks better with you then 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 differently 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.
- IEPS: Talk about any IEPS, ELL, or 504 students 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!! I have had the pleasure of the last 2 years of working with the same co-teacher. Her name is Mrs. Wright and she thinks completely out of the box. We have such a great time in her class and her students can tell that we really like each other. One of the lessons that is out of the box is having her students complete a murder mystery at our school after reading an Agatha Christie novel. All of the staff participates and the students really enjoy the activity.
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.
How can Google help in the Co-Teaching Classroom:
- Google Calendar: Keep track of Important events in the classroom.
- Google Slides/Forms: Create Presentations, Forms, even Breakout Sessions….
- Each teacher can have access to the students and can work with each group at different times and it can help differentiate in the Google Classroom.
Using Google Classroom and sharing responsibilities for all of the kids make the loads lighter for everyone and gives the kids more resources to use throughout the school day.
Co-Teaching can be an awesome experience in the classroom for both staff and students!!