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How 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 advice:

Plan together:
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.

Do you have a comment or question about this article? E-mail Judi.

See also:
How to Find a CTT Match: Questions To Ask A Potential Collaborative Team Teaching Partner by Sarah Picard

Collaboration -- High School Style by Judy Jones

 

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