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Co-teaching challenges and fears. How can we create a support program for teachers who are using the co-teaching model?

How are you planning your lessons? Are you keeping up with the general education classes on your grade level? Are you using small group instruction AND whole group instruction? How does you administration support you? Who do you direct your concerns to?

  • May 11 2014: As a co-teacher, it's important to set aside designated common planning time not only for you and your co-teacher, but for the grade level as well. This allows for continuity across the grade. The classroom is designed to allow for center rotation around the classroom-with small groups of students transitioning to a different center every fifteen minutes. The centers are run by the gen ed teacher, the special ed teacher, and a para who maintains skills and reteaches material. Circle time is run as a whole group and inclusive of all students and teaching staff, with both teachers rotating teaching and the para providing support for the students who need it. Our administration is very supportive of our model. Concerns are addressed to the building administrator, who then will either handle them herself or direct concerns to the CSE chairperson or director of special education.
    • May 12 2014: Thank you for your response. This sounds like a great support system that is in place.
  • May 11 2014: As a previous co-teacher in a preschool class, the general education teacher and I agreed to arrive to the classroom an hour before the children every Monday. This was our planning time. The lessons planned were for small group instruction. We also set up a weekly chart to designate large group planning and responsibilities. The biggest challenges that I faced were the lack of support from the general education administration and the lack of knowledge from the general education staff concerning special education. I felt that there was a huge disconnect between the general education and special education staff which created tension. In my opinion, the general education staff was unwilling to make accommodations for special education students.
    • May 12 2014: Thank you for you response. I can understand your frustration. I hear over and over if they are in inclusion they should be able to keep up. It seems to be overlooked that these are special education students for a reason and they need accommodations to be successful in their academics.
  • May 10 2014: I feel Co-teaching can work but both teachers need to be on the same page. Co-teaching is a challenge for many because the communication is not there. I feel to plan your lessons, you both need to be involved. Set aside a day and time to connect with each other and go over lessons and activities you will be teaching. You should meet with your co teacher you are working with at least once a week and make sure you are dong reflections. This will help you see how the lessons are going. When you are co teaching, you should be keeping up with the other general education classes. Co-teaching is not a different type of classroom, you should be doing what every other teaching is doing just have two teachers to teach it. Also, make sure to go over what lessons you and your co worker will be teaching. Open communication is the key!!!
    • May 11 2014: Thank you for your response. I think communication is definitely key. I also agree that the class should keep up with the other general education classes on grade level. Many struggle with this as some of the classes are not set up the way that they should be and academically the students struggle to keep up .
    • May 11 2014: I think listening to each others' teaching classes is a very good way to keep co-teaching.listening to each other,discussing,and listening and discussing...
      • May 12 2014: Thank you so much for your reply. I agree that this is huge when trying to be successful co-teaching.