This is a shout out to all of you who are involved in a co-teaching classroom. This is my second year working in a co-teaching classroom, and I must confess that we were virtually untrained when we entered into this partnership, and remain pretty much untrained today. We have gleaned some information on our own and are working through this experience using a combination of trial and error and best practices. But we could really use the expertise of other teachers who have had experience in co-teaching. If you could answer any of the following questions, it would be very helpful for us as we try to fine-tune our strategies:
* Is your classroom heterogeneous in nature? Do you have a good balance of gifted, regular education, and SPED students?
* How do you avoid having your classroom misused for the placement of countless at-risk students who might do better in a classroom with two teachers?
* Who does the planning? Is it a team effort, is it done by the regular education teacher with input from the SPED teacher, or is it a combination of several approaches that change periodically?
* How is instruction shared between the two teachers? Are there any techniques you have found particularly successful?
* How is intervention done? Does grouping change regularly with both the SPED and regular education teacher taking equal responsibility of all children?
* Who does the grading? Is your regular education teacher in charge of their students and the SPED teacher in charge of theirs? Or is this a shared responsibility with no real delineation between the two groups of students?
* Since the regular education teacher has not been trained in special education, how does your SPED teacher help the regular education teacher to adequately meet the needs of IEP students?
* How much pull-out do you do? How does the SPED teacher find time to meet the IEP goals as well as the regular classroom goals?
* In what areas have you been successful, and in which areas do you feel you need to make improvements?
* What overall advice would you give that would encourage us to continue in a co-teaching classroom?
When I need help with teaching issues, I am going to go to the experts. And that’s you. So thank you in advance for your expert advice. I suspect that I am not the only one who has questions about this approach to working with the SPED population, so I am sure you will be helping others out here, too.