Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Collaboration Adds Capacity: Shared Teaching

Several years ago teachers at fifth grade proposed a three-way shared teaching model. The model was approved, and as I've noted before, it's the best teaching model that I've experienced during my 33-year career as a teacher. I wonder why this model has not gained more traction in schools across the country.

Less isolation
There are many reasons why this shared teaching model works so well. First, the model has taken away the isolation that I felt with the one-teacher-one-classroom model. Now I have colleagues to regularly check in with, support, and work with to teach students well.

Greater capacity
This model also builds our capacity to teach well since we're always sharing ideas, contributing our strengths, and support each others' best work with students. We consider the grade five students to be all of our students, and we work together to teach every student well.

Deeper, better, and more timely teaching
And, we can go deeper with each subject since each of us specializes in particular subjects, projects, and special events. By specializing we have more time to read the books, attend the conferences, and consider the new research related to these areas.

Encouragement and support
We meet regularly, keep a common planning document, and support one another's efforts continually. PLCs, student service meetings, grade-level days, and shared planning periods gives us ample time to meet.

Streamlines and betters management efforts
The shared model creates a better management model for schools too since administrators can work with us as a team rather than individual teachers--they can expect our team to lead much of what we do then check in or meet with us for specific issues or initiatives.

Modeling effective teamwork
In our our populated, highly connected world, the need for collaboration is critical. When teachers work as successful teams, we model good collaboration and teamwork for our students. This is positive for our young students who will likely have to be successful team members throughout their lives.

Greater teaming, shared teaching, and collaborative leadership at the elementary level is advantageous--it's a model that holds great potential for bettering what we can do for and with students.