At the elementary level where all classes are self-contained, you especially realize the importance of teamwork and collaboration. It quickly becomes clear that these teachers have adopted the mentality of “working smarter, not harder.” Lower school teachers collaborate across grades and with enrichment teachers. According to Glen Lawson, who teaches science and reading at Davis Middle School, "You should laugh together, eat together, and make copies together at least twice a week."
As a second grade team, we have embraced the opportunity to plan, evaluate, and at times teach together. We collaborate regularly to ensure that our students not only learn the curriculum, but are enriched by it. When it comes to lesson plans, our team divides the responsibility of planning, organizing, creating manipulatives, and yes, making copies for each of the core subjects.
One of the greatest benefits of having small class sizes, is the opportunity to combine classes and team teach. What does team teaching look like? There are several different models. Below are the three that second grade most commonly employs as described by the BYU Center for Teaching and Learning https://ctl.byu.edu/tip/team-teaching-brief-summary.
Interactive team teaching – two faculty members present in front of the class simultaneously.
Rotational format team teaching – faculty alternate teaching the class. This rotational format has a number of variations depending on the subject matter and the number of faculty involved.
Participant-observer team teaching – all participating faculty are present for all the classes, but only one is “teaching” at a time. Roles that the other teachers could play as participating observer(s) are model learner, observer, panel member, or resource (Klein, 1990).
By teaching together, students benefit from having two different teaching techniques and perspectives. With two teachers in the classroom, one teacher can lead while the other provides support (whether scaffolding or enriching) to individual students or small groups. This method of teaching does not only benefit the students, but it greatly helps us to further develop our teaching craft.
We hope that you will take a moment this summer to read through some of the following links to learn more about the benefits of team teaching and partnership in the classroom. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/12/05/what-it-takes-to-make-co-teaching-work.html https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/teamcollaborative-teaching/ https://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin290.shtml