New co-teaching partners may also have different perspectives on “interrupting.” Often, I hear co-teachers justify their passive role in the classroom by saying that they don’t want to interrupt the teacher who is lecturing. I believe that it is critical to change the paradigm from “interrupting” to “supporting.”
Students who struggle, for whatever reason, need co-teachers to jump in and clarify, restate, question or add a quick learning strategy. These strategies support student learning.
Imagine a co-taught math class that includes students with disabilities as well as English language learners. The math teacher is presenting a mini-lecture on triangles. As she lectures, she uses the phrase “piece of cake” to describe how easy it is to figure the degrees of a missing angle. The specialist observes that several students are confused by this phrase, perhaps wondering what cake has to do with triangles. Should she jump in to clarify? Absolutely!
To insure that both partners feel comfortable with supporting students in these ways, co-teachers need to talk about it and give each other permission to jump in. Agree to reframe the behavior from "interrupting" to "supporting."