I was one of those teachers who said they would never team teach. There is no way a teacher could build a relationship with two classes, I thought. Boy I was wrong! When I returned to the classroom, my principal told me I would be team teaching. I was a little nervous, but with that teacher attitude I went all in. It was the best decision I ever made and here is why!
You Need to Consider It
When I was self contained, I felt like this all the time.
Sure, my team planned together. However, I felt it was so difficult to teach something I didn’t plan. There was a lot of walking across the hall asking questions to the teacher who planned that lesson.
When it came to the schedule, I felt like I was constantly watching the clock to make sure I wasn’t going over on time. Transitioning from one subject to another was exhausting at times.
The list can be a mile long of how exhausted and tired I was as a self contained teacher. I came up with a list of advantages to team teaching that might just make you consider it for the next school year.
You Teach What You’re Strong At
You might think, “Elissa….that’s a stretch when you make these comparisons”. But, hear me out. How may professions do you know of that do it all? Doctors practice every type of medicine? Lawyers practice every type of law?
Teachers are burned out because we have so much on our plate. Testing, data, documentation, lesson planning and then teaching can push anyone over the edge!
I am really strong in literacy and not that great at teaching math. Sure, I can do it. But will my students learn better from me because I’m their homeroom teacher? No.
Because I teach literacy, I can spend my planning time providing my students the most engaging activities and lessons because that’s my specialty. My students have gained so much from being with teachers that are teaching what they are best at.
You’re Less Overwhelmed
Ha! You’re probably laughing at that statement. But in all honesty, I am less overwhelmed by teaching three subjects rather than six. I remember when I was a first year teacher. The pressure of making sure to fit it all in made my mentally and physically exhausted. How was I going to fit it all in? What’s the best way to transition from writing to math? Will they fall behind if I get behind?
With only teaching three subjects, I have more time to go over those lesson plans and be more prepared. I also have more time to focus on how to help my lower students through tutoring and assessing.
There Is Less Planning
Doesn’t that sound great? Honestly, how many hours do you spend planning five and six subjects? Maybe you plan with your team, but I know with experience we all tend to veer into the wrong lane. One teacher plans math, but since we all teach it, we all start giving our ideas and suggestions. What is supposed to be an hour long planning session turns into days and days of planning.
With team teaching, you plan the subjects you teach and that’s it. I go home at 4:00 less stressed and ready for the next day.
Tips to Make It Successful
Team teaching takes effort from everyone, and everyone has to be on board for it to b successful. From my experience, here are four tips that will help team teaching work with your team:
- Sit down as a team and create a schedule that works for everyone
- Create a classroom management system with your team teacher to help with consistency
- Student expectations need to be the same across both classrooms
- Talk with parents about how to communicate with both teachers and be honest with why you chose to teach like this
Trust me on this! Team Teaching used to be just for middle and high school. It’s slowly trickling into more elementary classes each year and for good reason!