Team Teaching

Amanda Duffy and Julia Ambersley, Second Grade Teachers
Community among faculty members is important. At our school, you will find a united, bonded, and professional group of educators. The support that the teachers offer to their counterparts is a key component of a successful school environment.
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

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.

Amanda Duffy hails from Upstate New York and just outside of Boston. She attended and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Psychology. She began teaching fifth graders in New Hanover County, NC and continued in that grade level when she moved to Alpharetta, GA. She began teaching at O'Neal in 2008 as a second grade teacher. Since then she has taught first grade, Kindergarten, and is now back teaching the second grade. She is a Girl Scout Troop leader for the Brownie troop that meets at O’Neal.

Julia K. Ambersley joined the O’Neal faculty in the fall of 2014. Mrs. Ambersley studied at Sweet Briar College in Virginia where she received both her undergraduate degree (Anthropology, 2001) and her Master of Arts in Teaching (2005).

Currently, in her fourteenth year of teaching, Mrs. Ambersley has previously taught at Episcopal Day School where she taught third grade, and at Vass-Lakeview Elementary, where she taught fifth grade.

Mrs. Ambersley has enjoyed the many professional development opportunities provided by the O’Neal School. She has attended a Lucy Calkins Writer’s Workshop training at Norwood School in Maryland, a Project Based Learning Training at the Duke School in Durham, NC, and she has attended the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools Conference for the past two years. She presented a workshop entitled “Writing Essays with Elementary Students” at the 2018 NCAIS conference in Greensboro, NC, and she is serving on the planning committee for the 2019 NCAIS conference.

She is active in the community as a member of the local Daughters of the American Revolutions, a Sustainer with the Junior League of Moore County, and serving as treasurer for her son’s Boy Scout Troop.
Serving Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Whispering Pines, Sanford, West End, Aberdeen, and areas surrounding Moore County, NC.

The O’Neal School
3300 Airport Road
Southern Pines, NC 28387

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