I love questions that keep me thinking long after the asking! As I have been mulling this over the last few days, I have recognized that perseverance is an essential quality in so many aspects of teaching and learning. Co-teachers, especially, must have the ability to persevere through the ups and downs of their relationship. As in any long-term relationship, the partners will have moments where they might believe it would be easier to go it alone. The ability to decide for yourself, plan on your own schedule, implement your own behavior management philosophy - these are all very tempting at times. And yet we know that when co-teachers have open communication with each other and persevere in their collaborations, better outcomes happen for students.
What are some practical ideas to enhance your co-teaching perseverance?
- Set a regular schedule for co-plannng meetings, with an alarm reminder, and don't let anything get in the way!
- Set a regular schedule for reviewing learning objectives and progress monitoring data, rather than it being a task done only by the specialist.
- Use a co-teaching reflection tool each quarter to guide discussion about your co-teaching effectiveness.
- Arrange for a trusted colleague or administrator to do an informal observation of your co-teaching and provide some feedback. It might be a bit intimidating, but it will help you thoughtfully consider your practices.
- Use Swivl or some other form of technology to help you video tape your co-teaching, then sit down and watch it together.
- Frequently remind yourself that it is all about the children. With this in mind you and your partner will be motivated to do whatever it takes to give your students your best!