I had the privilege of co-teaching for about five years. I had an incredible special education teacher I taught with. Although he did a lot of the modifying etc, we were true partners. He was NOT my assistant. When he entered the room, it became his room as well. So, first of all know you are both equal. In addition make time to do some planning together. This gets somewhat difficult because of different planning periods. I would email him weekly with basic lesson plans and objectives etc...He would add to what I had. Another example of effective co-teaching is teachers must want to do this. Many are not asked and are put in this situation. Let me say, it is not for all teachers, and like Oprah once said, "It is okay to say no." You both must be passionate about kids, that is all kids, especially those who do have learning differences. He did pull small groups and worked with many of the special needs kids, but I did too.We would teach same objective and lesson to entire class, then differentiate with our groups and independent practice. We never had more than five or so special needs students in our class. Once again, it is an equal partnership. In addition, co- teachers must have open communication with one another. If something is bothering one of you, discuss it! I am retired from twenty nine years of teaching, and my fondest memories are from co-teaching. I work with teachers now and tell my teachers and "to be" teachers, if they ever have the opportunity to co-teach and are passionate about it, do it.
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Read the book Collaboration and Co-Teaching by Hongsfeld and Dove.
I have never co-taught before but have done some collaborative work with teachers and the number one advice I can give is communication! Sit down and have a planning meeting with your co-teacher once a week or however often you find is necessary. Here is a good thread on the topic as well:
Find the video "The Power of Two". Awesome breakdown of the steps for developing a good co-teaching relationship along with video examples.
I completely agree with Jan's answer. If you trust each other as peers and both keep the kids' needs first, your students will see you as equal partners--that's huge. Co-teaching can be truly amazing, really challenging, and some days it's both. But if you remember that you are partners in meeting kids' needs, it can also be wonderfully rewarding.
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