Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Shared Teaching Model: A Ripple Effect

Our fifth grade team is teaching with a shared teaching model. So far the impact has been positive, rewarding, and enriching. For the most part we've been able to dig in and teach with greater depth and focus due to increased time and focus on specific teaching/learning areas. We've also been able to teach with fewer behavioral concerns and a greater sense of team since all children are getting up and moving often, experiencing a variety of teaching styles, and interacting with similar programs and focus.

When we designed this approach, the classroom teachers worked closely with each other and the principal to craft a pattern that would work well for all students and the curriculum. Through multiple meetings we collaboratively made decisions about multiple topics and details. This collaboration was well worth it as the year has started with few problems or issues.

Now that the model is well rooted, we're finding that it's time to reach beyond the classroom teacher efforts to our work with the multiple specialists and assistants that support our team as the change in model affects them too. They are used to the one-teacher-one-classroom model and have many of their routines based on that model. For example, an act as simple as passing out class reports now requires change since all teachers are teaching all students, hence what we need is a report of all students at the grade level, not just our homeroom students.

Our new model affects other structures too. For example the office needs a list of the rotations so they know where specific students are at specific times since they can't just expect the child to be in their homeroom. Also when specialists work with children, they now work with three teachers rather than only the homeroom teacher, and the same is true for teaching assistants who were used to being with one class.

How will we extend the model to the many who support the students we all teach together? What areas of the model need to be revisited to accommodate our extended team? Soon we'll meet to discuss these points. As the principal so aptly described, a new model will go through a number of revisions as it takes shape and gains success. Onward.