An Ode to my Co-teacher

Happy New Year! Welcome to Adventures in Humanities. My goal for this year is a blog post per month, so get ready for 12 posts. I do teach writing so it’s only fair that I become more prolific.

Team Teaching
Sam Mosher and I are team-teaching! This is a new development in the UNIS Middle School. After puzzling over theory and application of team-teaching (which is new to me,) I realized that I am blessed to have a wonderful, sensitive, and simpatico partner. So, my advice is to have a great co-teacher. Team-teaching has been all about opening up our practices and designing purposeful instruction. So far it has been a super positive experience, and here are my main take-aways:

Every conversation is grounded in purpose and action.
Whether teaching non-fiction writing in journalism or getting kids on their feet and tackling Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, our focus on reading, writing and honoring the text. When starting with this simple premise, it is easier to remain focused on what is important. I am antsy about getting to the concrete action stage, but Sam is great about slowing my process down and really thinking about purpose.

Stick to the plan?
Having a co-teacher is somewhat like having a constant reflection on your classroom. I’ve realized about myself: I like to be super planned and know exactly what I’m doing (stubborn Taurus!l) and then change it up whenever it strikes my fancy. Paradox! Flexibility is key, and I admire Sam’s ability to adapt while staying true to herself.

Now, the nuts and bolts.
So what has worked in our classroom?
1. Weekly planning meetings. Checking in about the flow of the week. Collaborate? Divide and conquer? Assess? Laugh and chat? Yes, yes, yes and yes.
2. Staying present and complimenting the current dynamic. Because this specific classroom experience is new to both Sam and I, it helps to keep eyes and ears open and be ready to jump in wherever needed. Expect anything, and use your wealth of experience on the spot.
3. Parallel teaching. This specific model of co-teaching has worked very well for our group.

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