In early childcare, it is very common to have a co-teacher or assistant teacher who helps with teaching students and managing the classroom. Co-teaching offers many benefits for teachers and students. Students have more one-on-one time with educators, while teachers can learn other teaching strategies.
To have a successful co-teaching relationship, it’s important to build a rapport and learn to how to lean on each other for help. Learn how you can use your co-teacher for help to create a classroom environment where children can learn and grow.
Identify Teaching Styles
First, identify your own teaching style and your co-teacher’s teaching style. Effective co-teaching is all about complementing each other. Sit down early in the school year to review all of this information, and see what areas you can both improve upon. This can also be beneficial to do a few times throughout the year as you learn what works best in your classroom.
There are a few different co-teaching styles. Work together to determine what will be most effective in your classroom. You may find that while one of you loves to plan art experiences, the other is great at setting up STEAM activities. Focus on each other’s strengths!
Another option is to rotate teaching weeks. While one teacher does more of the teaching that week, the other still provides input and is an active part of the classroom to support learning.
Lastly, you can utilize small groups to focus on children’s needs and strengths. This also makes classroom management easier by decreasing group sizes.
Work on a Plan Together
Once you’ve identified your teaching approach, work together to create a plan. Your plan should identify how you will implement your teaching style. This should also include how you will put together lesson plans and other important teaching materials.
Co-teaching is all about working as a team, and your plan should be a reflection of both of your ideas. An important aspect of co-teaching is flexibility. While you may have a vision in mind, it can be extremely beneficial to change things up and go with your co-teacher’s plan.
A plan can help you maximize your co-teaching relationship, incorporating both of your ideas. When you’re on the same page and you have a plan to follow, it also makes the classroom fun for you and your students!
Handle Disagreements Privately
It’s natural that disagreements may occur. Again, co-teaching is a complementary teaching style, so it’s expected that each of you will have different personalities or preferred methods of teaching. You may also have different educational backgrounds and experience!
Importantly, do not let your differences impact your students. Be willing to work through your disagreements and find a common ground away from students or other faculty. Everyone benefits when you and your co-teacher have a mutual respect for each other.
It may be helpful to schedule weekly meetings to touch base about classroom concerns. This way, you always have time set aside to talk about things, without letting problems get too big.
When you have a great relationship with your co-teacher, this teaching strategy can be an effective way to manage your classroom and grow in your profession.