Co-Teaching #MTBoSBlaugust Post 3 #coteach


Two big things are new to me this fall.  Math for Business and Industry – a 12th grade course I’ve never taught and co-teaching.  I’ve never been assigned to collaborate with a special education teacher during class time.  I’ve sought input and resources, ideas for modifications in the past, but never  working together during class time.  A couple of different times I even asked administration about me going into the resource classroom and collaborating as a regular education teacher to serve as support to the special educator.  Never happened.

I’ve sat through training for co-teaching models, multiple times, but never had to apply any of it.  I’ve looked models and suggestions from Pinterest.  Even a few articles similar to this one from ASCD.

I’m nervous.

What if my colleague doesn’t like  me?  I’m getting ready to begin year 22.  I’ve got many ideas of how I like things to be done – but this is no longer “my space” but a shared space.  Yikes.  How can I help them feel its “our space”?

I know communication, communication, communication will be key.  I just hope I come across as sincere and not pushy, the way many I’m afraid see me.

What if I disagree with something they want to do?  What can I say that will not come across as stubborn and bossy?  I really do want this to be a learning experience, a true collaboration that will benefit all of our students, not just the targeted students.

I know it will be difficult for them to adjust to so many different teaching styles, given they are in other classrooms as well.

I hope they share my same philosophies of bell-to-bell on task.

I am a “be less helpful” – asking / probing a lot rather than showing/telling students what/how to do and what to think.  Will this work with special education learners?  Or will I need to adjust to more direct instruction?

I am very much a fan of maniupulatives – Hands On Equations, Alge-blocks, many graphs with Desmos, but I also want to implement a lot of structures from WODB, Estimation180, CthenC, Number Talks, Counting Circles, and Pam Harris’ Numeracy Strategies as bell ringer / daily starters.

I try to be proactive with student behavior, but I do have certain expectations.  How do others handle discipline?

Is it my responsibility to provide the foundation tasks and then we collaborate to come up with modifications together?

Do I keep grades for non-special education students and they score / grade / feedback for students with disabilities?

Is there a go-to resource anyone can share on things we should discuss?  Even the chart in the article linked above, is that a good starting spot for discussion?  This I feel is key to setting the tone for the year – both of us sharing our expectations, strengths/weakness, things we are nervous about and even excited about too.

I appreciate any suggestions and resources you can share.



7 responses »

  1. As a sped teacher, the biggest thing I can share is that the relationship will be what you as a team decide to make it. One teacher I collaborate with is old school and I am basically a teacher’s aid. He lectures and I move around and help students when he assigns them problems to practice. He doesn’t want me moving when he is talking. He plans the lessons, grades the papers and I just basically show up. Another one I collaborate with is completely different. We both teach, both plan and both grade. It is hard for an outsider to tell which of us is which. I would suggest you contact your sped teacher and go have a cup of coffee or some lunch off school grounds somewhere neutral and start having a conversation about thoughts and expectations. Talk about what you have to have/do, would like to have/do and what you can be flexible with. Encourage him/her to do the same. Be open and honest. Talk about strengths and weaknesses. You may find you mesh very well. It can be nerve-wracking pushing into a classroom and feeling like an interloper. You nailed it when you said communication is key. That forms the base and everything else. You can do this!!

    • Thank you so much for your input. I’m scared because I don’t want them to feel unwelcome – and a know my personality is not always perceived as I intend. All great iideas.

  2. Hi! I remember when my colleague and I first started co-teaching. I was nervous, too! We have been co-teaching now for 8 years. We teach one 7th grade math class together. Because I teach the course two other times throughout the day, I lead the lesson and she assists all students as needed. We do not tell the students this. We tell them, “Wow! You all are so lucky to have two people to work with you all year and answer your questions!” It makes them feel grateful for the extra support. It has become my favorite class to teach and I fight for it every year. The best advice I can give is don’t be afraid to interrupt each other and “teach together!” A lot of times I will be teaching and she will say, “let me show you another different way you can solve this!” Special education teachers are amazing to watch teach. I really hope it works out for you like it did for us!

  3. Pingback: Co-Teaching | Count It All Joy

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