A place for teachers and other providers of special education services to support each other, share information, and discuss topics, including assessment.

Co-Teaching

Erika Saunders 6th-8th Special Ed, LS & Mentally Gifted teacher

Hey everyone! I wanted to get people's experiences with co-teaching. My school went to an inclusion model last year. Prior to that, I had my own classroom of 6-8th graders with IEP's. I taught them Literacy and Math - they went out of my classroom for Social Studies and Science.

When we went to inclusion, I now was co-teaching with the Math and Literacy teachers for 6th - 8th grades. There was virtually no training - I started the year with no schedule! I would LOVE to say that things went smoothly but that was not the case. I was treated anywhere from a good "aid" to a somewhat competent "student teacher" to a complete intruder. Ugh!

It's getting better this year but at a very slow pace. I really feel for all of the students - not just those with IEPs - who could benefit if we embraced the idea of co-teaching more fully and the classroom teachers utilized my expertise in accessing the curriculum.

I'd love to hear your stories! The good, the bad, and the ugly! I'd especially like to hear how people have made it work - converted the "non-believers"

Thanks!

Comments (34)

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I'm in my 2nd year with a

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I'm in my 2nd year with a "laid-back" teacher. Her classroom is a free for all. Last year most students scores went down. The good news the same group of students are doing much better with their 5th grade teacher who is much more structured. I don't know how teachers get away with this, but imho, this is what gives teachers a bad reputation and why we are in the middle of reform. It would help if the principal or ap would deal with it, but they turn a blind eye. The teacher misses a lot of days, and frankly, I think she plans to keep her job until she's fired or laid off. I don't get the impression she really cares. In the meantime, I feel powerless. In general, I think the whole co-teaching, inclusion model is ineffective.

retired special education teacher K-12, FIE Trainer from Eureka,ca.

It is unfortunate that this

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It is unfortunate that this the case. It positive that you witness the teaching that is occurring with the 5th grade teacher and you have deduced that structure is critical with the causal factor of the coteaching situation. The principal not doing his/her job is the issue. All too often a principal is too weak or ineffectual to provide the leadership or management required. There are classrooms where coteaching is effective but requires a clear definition of roles, collaboration time (daily), structured classroom, agreement on management philosophy, and shared goals. MLE/FIE - Mediated Learning Expereince/Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment (icelp.org & iri.org -sources of information) formed tghe foundation of the coteaching experiences for 4-6th classrooms in Eureka. RST teacher with regular ed teacher coteaching.

Special Education Teacher in Chicago.

I like your advice. I work in

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I like your advice. I work in Chicago. Chicago has transitioned into co-teaching. The problem is every school seems to be doing it their way. Some schools have me co-teaching with 2 grades (4 teachers) and at other schools they have me co-teaching with the entire staff. Don't laugh I am serious ;-) I will use your advice when I finally find a school that doesn't have me collaborating with every gen ed teacher. Keep up the great advice!

Special Education Teacher in Chicago.

These schools sound like to

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These schools sound like to me to be writing the IEP to meet the situation the students find themselves in not to meet the needs of the student. In this case, a good lawyer could rectify this situation. IDEA requires a continuum of services. Their placement has to be based on their needs. Some require special classes to grow other don't. We are suppose to be advocates for our students. Inform the parents of their rights. Can you imagine what the drop out rate will be in 8 years? It is currently 33% in Chicago. In 8 years with co-teaching it will be 50%. In Chicago, there are schools where the sped teacher has to co-teach with 6 different grades that can add up to co-teaching with 6-8 teachers with no common planning time.

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