TIps for Team Teaching

In my many years of teaching I have been mostly self contained, but I have had a few opportunities to team teach as well.  I well prefer team teaching because of the many things it offers including teaching fewer content areas and building relationships with more students!

Team teaching did have its learning curves for me.  My team teaching experiences overall have brought me some colleagues that have become friends, but it has also provided me life lessons as well.

Once you have communicated with your partner and set up routines to make your schedules run smoothly, come back to them and evaluate them every so often. You may think things are running smoothly, but it is important to check in with your partner and make sure they feel the same.

1. Communication

If it is one thing I can't stress enough it is that you MUST communicate with your teammate.  You may find that you have different personalities or even philosophies, and that is okay.  You do however need to make sure that you are on the same page with things that involve your students.  A few things to consider are...

  • How do you want to return paperwork to students?
  • How will you share supplies? or What supplies will stay with each teacher?
  • What are your plans for parent communication?
  • Can you team up on things like newsletters and class parties?

Deciding on these things together ahead of time will help your year to run smoothly and presenting them to a new partner helps you to not only look like a team player, but to also be a team player.

2. Play to Your Strengths

Work with your teammate and figure out your strengths?  Is one of you better at parent communication that the other? If so you might consider that when you have conferences etc. you both sit in on them.  This way you have a buffer. Maybe one of you is excellent at organization, so that person might be in charge of cooridnating your field trip.

Knowing and playing to the strengths of each other will make you stronger in the end and in the end help your students to be more successful overall.

3. Compromise is Key

Just like any relationship there will be times you don't agree with your team teaching partner.  You have to evaluate each situation and decide if it is something you can compromise on or is it something you feel strongly about and need to stand your ground.

There will be times that your decisions won't directly impact your teammate and you can make the best decision for your class, but it is important to be sure that you have thought of it from all angles to be sure it will not be a problem for them if you choose to move forward with a decision.

For example, there was a point in time where I had a partner that I shared students with and we were deciding what to do for a class gift for our students around the holidays.  I wanted to make a gift, but she wasn't wanting to do the same thing. I decided to just go ahead and it this for my homeroom class.  I honestly didn't think it would cause any problems because she was handling her own class.  I was wrong in my assumption and there were parent complaints that caused her grief that I never meant to cause.  I can look back on that situation and say that it would have been better to compromise and just do the same thing.  Lesson learned.

My hope for every teacher is that they find a team BFF to work with that will have their back and that they work beautifully with.  These happen here and there throughout your career, and other times we work with people who maybe aren't our cup of tea. The great thing about these people is they can grow us in unexpected ways if we let them.  They are put in our lives to show us ways to be different than we might normally or to mature us in ways we don't plan on.  They all play a part and teamwork in the end is about our kids.  When our team works well our kids succeed.

Are you self contained for teaching?  If so, check out tips from Beth at Adventures of a Schoolmarm to learn tips for working with a team and teaching all content areas.  Click the image below to get to her blog post.

No comments

Back to Top