Not all teachers get to state a preference as to whether they would like to work within a traditional classroom arrangement or in a co-teaching format--administrative needs may make that decision for them. A cooperating teacher might be expected to adopt co-teaching or a student teacher may be placed into a co-teaching setting, for example. The success of the co-teaching partnership then depends on the teachers' willingness to shift toward a co-teaching state of mind. Regardless of who the co-teachers are, it is important for each teaching partner to prepare for the co-teaching experience in this way.
Consider each of the questions below, in preparation for co-teaching. If needed, write down your responses and then watch the corresponding videos. You will hear teachers respond within the contexts of co-teaching with student teachers and co-teaching with in-service colleagues. Notice if and when these teachers’ responses are different from your own--your answers may differ depending on your role as either a student teacher, a cooperating teacher, or a teaching colleague.
Also, be ready to articulate your answers for your prospective co-teacher. Communication like this is an essential strategy for co-teaching.
1. What benefits do you see in the co-teaching paradigm for everyone involved?
2. What are your concerns about sharing a "teaching space" with another teacher/student teacher?
3. How can your co-teacher and you start a conversation about all of this?
4. How do you want to communicate with your co-teacher?
5. How do you establish shared classroom management practices and expectations?
6. When and how are you most likely to plan?
7. How do you facilitate shared responsibility and ensure that students see all teachers as equal authority figures?
8. How open are you to sharing your ideas and materials?
Now that you've considered these fundamental questions and listened to other teachers' responses, what do you notice about your own assumptions regarding teaching and learning?