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The Co-Teach Model

Techniques for Sharing a Classroom

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As more schools espouse the full inclusion model, many are trying to find the best way to reach and teach every student. One step that has been taken is to add co-teachers to classes assigned numerous ESE students. This system, if used wisely, can be an awesome tool to connect with those sometimes hard-to-reach students. But if resisted, co-teaching can cause a daily nightmare for all parties involved. After teaching in a co-teach situation for 5 years, I have learned many things that I think can make the situation better for both educators.

Techniques for Co-Teachers


For Regular Ed Teachers:

  • Open communication lines early
  • Realize many co-teachers feel just as uncomfortable as you with the situation--they might even feel as if they are invading your classroom
  • Don't assume the co-teacher wants to take over.
  • Don't assume the co-teacher is judging you.
  • Share your beliefs and expectations with the co-teacher so that they know where you're coming from.
  • Ask what the co-teacher's expectations are for you.
  • Don't treat your co-teacher like an aid! They're a teacher too.

For Co-Teachers:

  • Open communication lines early
  • Realize that the regular ed teacher feels ownership of their class--put them at ease by telling them you are not planning to take over.
  • Share your educational beliefs and expectations.
  • Ask what the regular ed teacher expects of you.
  • Make sure to explain any absences you might have from the classroom while on campus.
  • Discuss all student modifications with the regular ed teacher--get them to have a stake in the modification.
  • Do not change the grading scale, etc. without first discussing this with the regular ed teacher.

For Both Teachers:

  • Realize your both educational colleagues--in the same boat
  • Be professional.
  • Learn to get along.

For further information, check out a Canadian site where they term the co-teacher a Resource Teacher: You Are Not Alone. The co-teach model is evolving, and we must evolve with it. Only through professional cooperation will we truly have an inclusive classroom that works!

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