Take the Co-Teaching Summertime Challenge!

A MiddleWeb Blog

2-teachers-nobordr-210Summertime is the perfect time for teachers to take the co-teaching challenge. It will be a fairly painless, and completely inspiring, experience. And it won’t take a lot of time—but the experience will go a long, long way toward improving your next year in the classroom.

So, let’s do it! Encourage yourself to think differently. Step away from your perspective for a moment to see the view from another perspective.

Reflect on your co-teaching year—with a realistic eye—allowing yourself to think about the fulfilling, satisfying, exasperating, and/or just plain maddening moments from the year. Choose one to remember. But don’t stop there! Don’t just think about it and forget it! Be willing to use that memory as a way to strengthen your co-teaching relationships for the upcoming year.

concentrating woman 300> Objectively remember this memory. Perhaps it is a positive experience that you would like to emulate. Or maybe you’d like to spice up this reflective activity and remember a time that you would really just rather forget because it was too tortuous to go through the first time! Now ask yourself: how can that memory make me a stronger co-teacher? What did I do in those moments? What can I do next time?

> Do not get caught spinning your wheels reflecting on a frustrating experience and trying to detox through visits to the beach or distracting yourself with reading a good book. And do not just focus on what your co-teacher said or did—or didn’t say or didn’t do. Really look at yourself. Sift through that memory and find the learning gem. It is with this gem that you will personalize your personal growth for future co-teaching experiences.

Hunting for the gems

Within all of your positive and negative co-teaching experiences lies a learning gem. This gem will open the door for you to strengthen your teacher self.

What can you learn about yourself? When done right, everyone benefits from your learning gem realization. You have the potential to build stronger relationships between you and your co-teacher(s) as well as with your students. So, what do you say?

Possible learning gems include self-statements like:

> I need to be less territorial and include my co-teacher’s ideas in the planning and instructional process.

> I like the way I include my co-teacher’s ideas for creating a classroom management routine.

> I need to create co-planning moments even though there is not any time set in our schedules.

> I need to listen closely to the ideas of my co-teacher and include more strategies within the instructional process.

I took the challenge, now what?

concentrating woman flower rtThat structured classroom learning scenario has transitioned into summertime mode – a perfect blend of rest, relaxation, and professional growth. Take your one learning gem and decide on a way to extend your learning and willingness to co-teach with true parity.

Embrace summertime learning as an ongoing, happening-every-second kind of thing. In addition to your own personalized learning ideas, here are a few links that will help you continue honing your co-teaching skills this summer:

This link will spark anyone in need of a time management boost. Multi-tasking is a natural part of any co-teacher’s day. Check out The Science of Productivity to get you on a well-planned and focused track.

Check out the Teaching in Tandem webinar by Gloria Lodato Wilson and Joan Blednick from ASCD to get valuable co-teaching tips.

This Maryland Learning Links PDF is a great resource for kicking up your level of effective co-teaching practices.

New and veteran teachers can learn so much from the perspective of new teachers. Check out CEC Reality 101 for some great insights to push your thinking along.

Here’s a quick read from Ed Week Teacher (and CTQ Collaboratory) with potentially enduring ideas: 3 Things You Can Do This Summer to Be a Better Teacher in the Fall.

 And if you’re looking for a professional read while you’re poolside, check out Routledge/Eye on Education’s summer reading list.

Results of your Co-Teaching Challenge

concentrating woman flower ltJust think about the potential of taking this co-teaching challenge. Once you invest the time to focus, reflect, and stretch your thinking beyond your own perspective, your mind will be set for opening up to meaningful co-teaching relationships and ultimately students’ greater achievements. Now that you’ve thought about it…what ACTIONS will you take?

Don’t let your challenge fall flat. Come back to this post throughout the summer and share your co-teaching challenge experience. We can use this space to ask questions, share ideas, and learn throughout the summer months. Together—let’s do this!

Happy Summer, everyone!

Elizabeth Stein

Elizabeth Stein has more than 20 years teaching experience spanning grades K-8, specializing in universal design for learning and special education. She’s currently a special education/UDL instructional coach and new-teacher mentor in Long Island NY’s Smithtown Central School District. Elizabeth is National Board Certified in Literacy, and a contributor to Education Week and other publications. Her books include Comprehension Lessons for RTI (Grades 3-5) (Scholastic, 2013), Elevating Co-Teaching Through UDL (CAST, 2016) and Two Teachers in the Room: Strategies for Co-Teaching Success (Routledge, 2017). Follow her on Twitter @elizabethlstein and #coteachat

2 Responses

  1. Wideman says:

    This is indeed positive and definitely encouraging. Thank you so much for writing this blog and sharing it with everyone. I will take the co-teaching challenge in order that my co-teacher and I work well together in that our ability to teach and learn is effective. My desire is that the students achieve well.

    • Elizabeth Stein says:

      Wideman, great to hear and thanks for sharing!
      Come back and share your experience with this self-regulated
      PD–would most definitely spark some rich discussions!

      All the best to you, your co-teacher, and your students!

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