In addition to my role as a Learning Coach this year, I am also sharing teaching duties within the grade 6 classroom. This first week back, I have had the pleasure of working side by side with my grade 6 team teacher. In spending the last couple of weeks working together and more specifically this past week in the classroom, I now firmly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to have a team teaching experience.
The benefits of a team teaching approach to education are numerous for both the students and teachers involved, however; team teaching requires a shift in how one approaches planning, assessment, and classroom management. In order for true collaboration to occur in all areas a mind shift must occur. We as teachers need to take on the role of 21st century learners and focus on the three C's: Communication, Collaboration and Critical Thinking.
If teachers are willing to 'give up" traditional singular approaches to planning, assessment and classroom managment, the professional and intellectual experience of team teaching will be far more successful for all stakeholders. In Alberta, we have typically seen a team teaching approach at the primary level, particularily in Division 1 classrooms where enrollement has allowed the opportunity to occur. The Middle School appraoch also takes a team teaching approach to student learning but focuses more on pods or groups of teachers rather than a shared classroom. Interestingly enough while researching the benefits and challenges of team teaching I came across this interesting article that discusses a Univeristy level approach to team teaching :
While I am not naive to beleive there will not be challenges, I know that the trust, respect and friendship I have with my team teacher will allow us to safely "agree to disagree" and push both of us to be the best possible people for our classroom family of 26.
I am blessed to be working with someone that "matters"!