To Work With A Collaborative Team Teaching (CTT) Partner Judi Fenton
You may have heard it said that being
a member of a collaborative team teaching pair is like
being in a marriage. Like marriages, there are good
matches and bad ones. The teams I work offer the following
You will need to create a sacred time to plan together.
Come in early one day a week to plan for the next week
together. Decide who will teach what to which students,
how you will group your students, who will take the
lead in whole-group instruction for each lesson and
what the other teacher will do at that time, etc. Share
the planning and researching burden!
Discuss discipline styles:
We all have different ways of maintaining an orderly
classroom. Discuss your styles and make a pact to back
each other up even if you disagree in the moment. Like
parenting, members of the team must work to present
a united front so that our students don’t play
one of us off the other.
Know your own style:
Before you enter a CTT relationship, you should decide
if you really want to be there. If you are a teacher
who enjoys making all the decisions yourself, then perhaps
sharing a classroom is not the best choice for you.
Examine your motives and understand that it’s
not easier just because there are two teachers in the
classroom—it’s harder since working with
another teacher is an added responsibility.
Communicate and reflect:
Communication with one another always! Keep those lines
of communication open. Just as you have a sacred time
to plan together, identify time during the school day
to reflect together on how your relationship is progressing.
Make it OK to have the difficult conversations about
working together—who is stepping on whose toes,
who gave the students a different message, who decided
unilaterally to change the plan at the last moment,
and how this made you both feel.
Sharing a classroom with another teacher is hard. Unfortunately
teachers aren’t taught to work collaboratively
and too often CTT teachers are thrown into a classroom
together and are expected to make it work without any
guidance. You can make the year more productive and
pleasant for yourself, your partner, and your students
if you communicate with your partner, plan together,
and reflect about your own teaching style.
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