Advice For Successful Team Teaching

You team teaching experience will have a greater chance of success if you follow this advice.

For many educators today trying to "have it all," a career in teaching is only possible through co-teaching or team teaching. This can take many forms - from having a special educator in the class with you to sharing instruction with a colleague so you can work part-time. While team teaching certainly has its benefits, it also comes with unique challenges. For a positive team teaching experience, keep this advice in mind:

Get to know each other's teaching styles
You're guaranteed to run into problems when team teaching if you don't understand each other's instructional styles right off the bat. No two teachers are alike, and making an effort to develop a lesson plan that will complement each of your individual teaching styles will reduce the likelihood of conflict down the road. Ensuring that you're on the same page regarding classroom management and discipline will also make it less confusing for the students, who must learn how to interact with more than one authority figure.

Be willing to compromise
If you have a "my way or the highway" type personality, team teaching may not be for you. When two educators are responsible for one classroom, it's imperative that they be able to compromise. Although you don't necessarily have to adopt the same teaching style, you do need to agree on what students need to know and how they will be tested. When divvying up instruction, use each other's strengths and weaknesses as a guide.

Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses
In that vein of thinking, it is imperative that both educators in a team teaching situation are honest about their strengths and weaknesses right off the bat. This is particularly true of elementary school instruction. If your partner is a strong science teacher while you prefer to take over the reading and writing, you will become a better teaching team when playing to each other's strengths.

Create a schedule
Communication is key when it comes to team teaching, so make sure to set aside a time where you can divvy up curriculum planning duties and decide what exactly will be taught, who will teach it and when. If you share the responsibilities equally, you'll have a more harmonious classroom.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a non-profit, accredited, online university. WGU's Teachers College offers multiple online degree programs for current teachers or those looking to become teachers. To find out more, please visit our website at www.wgu.edu.

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