Co-Teaching Tip #1 - Don't Just Stand There!

Monday, July 4, 2016
An example of accommodating the needs of students.
Co-teaching is hard. I'm never going to say it's easy. Never. I can suggest things that might make it easier, but, it's never easy. My relationship is easier to manage when compared to co-teaching. One thing I have learned is that you're wasting your own time just standing there, listening to another teacher lecture/ directly teach for 12/ 34/ 49 mins. 

Personally, I spent a lot of first year just scoping out teachers. I wanted to see how they ran the show and tried to adapt as quickly as possible. I was pretty much quiet for half the class time because I was scared. That was for my own personal safety - it didn't matter to me if they said "oh, it's fine, interrupt me." No dude. I know it's not okay because I tried once and you gave me a death stare, then said "where was I?" I didn't want them to run to their neighbor and shoot the poo with them about what I did. 

I have found that the best way for me to get to: (A) stand in front of the room with my co-teacher, (B) speak out as frequently as my co-teacher, and (C) still meet needs is to GET UP AND WRITE ON THE BOARD. Now, there are some teachers who dominate both the board and the direct teaching time in the classroom. That's a different monster. 

Focus on this scenario with me: Teacher A is providing information to students after showing a video to the class. Students are asked to take notes as she speaks. Teacher B is either sitting down working with a few students at their desk or floating between tables checking for accuracy.

Yup, I was teacher B. Now don't get me wrong. Yes, you're checking for accuracy. Yes, you're working in small groups. However, did you speak? Are you up there demonstrating that this is a shared room? Or that you are a teacher not a para? Get up, find a board, start writing. 

I'm speaking from personal experience - this works. Why? 
  • I'm up there accommodating my students needs without making it obvious whose needs I am accommodating. I didn't print a graphic organizer and hand it to select students, I made one on the board for ALL students.
    I'm making a step-by-step list of what to do, guiding questions/prompts, due date, etc. Get accommodated, son!
  • They were directed to take notes? Yeah, the other teacher is talking and walking - let her check on them!
  • I'm asking students, not the teacher, to repeat/ rephrase or add/share something new to a bubble that was already mentioned. Am I interrupting the teacher? Nope. We're not speaking to each other, remember?
  • I'm standing at the front of the room - not the back or the side. Students need to see this. You are both teachers! 
  • Students are asking ME questions "Can you reread that?" or "What's that bubble say?
  • After I'm done, I take a picture of it. I print this for their help binder in the testing room or I make a Quizlet off of the information shown.
Seriously, try this a couple of times. Let me know!


  1. I commented on your instagram picture (the highlighter tape) about co-teaching as a first-year teacher. I am SO glad I found this blog. Seriously. This is great. I'm so interested in the Help Binder and making quizlets too! (never would have thought of that one).

    1. Hello again!
      I haven't made a post on my version of a Help Binder yet, but my good friend Julia has one! Here's the link!


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