June 12, 2016

Pros and Cons of Team Teaching

Last year was my first attempt at team-teaching. I teamed with a colleague. I taught all of the math, science, and social studies. She taught all of the language arts and health. It was an eye-opening year.

Positives
  1. Students - I had the opportunity to have 45 students (not at one time) instead of 22. We switched, so one class had 23 and the other had 22. I got to meet and work with more students, which is always a positive!
  2. Fewer subjects - I go to teach math (my favorite), science and social studies. Because I had fewer subjects to plan for, I had more time to prepare my lessons.
  3. A great teammate - My colleague is awesome! It was very nice to have her support, encouragement & feedback!
  4. Parent conferences - We did conferences together, which was awesome. Yes, it was twice the number of conferences that I would have normally had, but with two of us, we were able to give parents more specifics about their child. 

Challenges
  1. Parent communication - I had an AWESOME group of parents this year. However, it was challenging to communicate effectively with all of them. 
  2. Absences - I have student folders to keep up with students' missing work. If a student is absent, I (or my students) put a folder on his/her desk and fill it with missed assignments for the day. However, when there are two different classes, this can get overwhelming.
  3. Sharing desks - This was a NIGHTMARE!!!!! Every... Single... Day someone was complaining that his/her stuff was moved, messed with, or missing. I get it - I would complain too if my things were gone. However, with crunched schedules and a heavy curriculum, it took up SO much time trying to track down missing items.
  4. Schedule changes - If we had an assembly, or a fire drill, or anything out of the ordinary, our schedules would have to be switched around. This was ok, and we always worked through it, but I am SUCH a planner that it was hard for me to have to change my plan during the day. 
  5. The master schedule - Our schedule wasn't good this year. I taught my first block for an hour and a half. Perfect! Then, I only got my second block for 45 minutes. Then we had specials and lunch. Then I taught the second half of my second block. Then we had recess. Then I taught my second block again, then finished the day with my first block. Confused? So was I! Each block of students had the exact amount of time, but the day was so chopped up that I felt a little chaotic some most days.

Do you team teach or co-teach? I'm looking for the best ideas out there to help shorten my list of challenges and lengthen my list of positives. I would love to hear from you!! Check back soon for a blog post about ways to make this teaching style more productive!

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