Team Teaching: How to Improve Each Other's Game (Transcript)
Mike Fauteux: We're two teachers at the same school. Both of us teaching two sections of geometry. And yet, even in the same school, the variance can be so wide at how two people teach the same lesson. And so our practice minimizes that difference in how we teach, so the kids get a more equitable, stronger lesson. I'm Mike Fauteux, and I teach Geometry, and Academic Numeracy at Leadership Public School of Hayward.
Mike Fauteux: And here's your challenge. You're going to be silent. You're going to be right there in your seats, and for the next minute-and-a-half, I want you to think of at least three solutions to this equation.
Mike Fauteux: And I collaborate regularly with my co-teacher, Rose Zapata.
Rose Zapata: My name is Rose Zapata. I teach Geometry and Pre-Calculus at Leadership Public Schools in Hayward.
Rose Zapata: So the definition, all angles are equal. And more specifically like Aaron said, they're all 60 degrees, and that's always going to be the case. They're always going to be 60 degrees.
Mike Fauteux: We're a network of four schools, and we're very much all about trying new ideas. Succeed at some and fail at others, with the idea of eventually making wide-scale change in our communities. On a daily basis, our goal with the video camera, besides general feedback, is to build a library to match completely with the curriculum. And we'd like full lessons. And we'd also like to edit and code by practice or task.
Rose Zapata: I try more things when a video camera is there, than when it's not. Because when it's not, you get kind of comfortable in your every day trend of things. But when the camera is there, it forces you to want to do something extra. And then you see that extra thing actually make a difference.
Mike Fauteux: The way we create that curriculum is after Rose teaches a lesson, we will meet, sit down, and for a minimum of 15 minutes a day tear apart that lesson. We'll talk about the pacing.
Mike Fauteux: [ speaking to Rose ] And you got through this in a timely fashion. It was really good to see the pace at which you went through all -- was it six?
Rose Zapata: [ speaking to Mike ] Yeah.
Mike Fauteux: And we'll talk about expected errors and missed conceptions.
Mike Fauteux: [ speaking to Rose ] And this here would be at least, I think it was valuable to take those two minutes.
Rose Zapata: [ speaking to Mike ] Yeah, I agree. This is what they missed, at least.
Mike Fauteux: [ speaking to Rose ] So in the common misunderstanding, missed conceptions, errors section of the teacher notes. That definitely has to go in there.
Mike Fauteux: We'll edit, put sticky notes all over them so we can make them better. She'll give me feedback; I'll give her feedback. And that's how we continue to have the curriculum evolve and make it more precise and powerful.
Rose Zapata: Teaching isn't just about standing up there and giving them instruction. It's also about developing yourself, so that they go to the next level.
Mike Fauteux: Last year, Rose and I felt this relationship out, and we got to a point where we felt comfortable challenging each other. Sometimes arguing a lot; sometimes supporting each other a lot. But all very productive.
Rose Zapata: We're very open to going to each other. And it's because we have this camaraderie that took some time to form.
Mike Fauteux: With the benchmarks, I noticed that my classes were under-performing her classes by an average of ten percent. And so I had to sit down and just look at that data dispassionately. And as a competitive person, that wasn't easy. I got into her classroom, and I watched her teach a lesson, and then I went and tried to teach the same thing. And then she would come in and video me. Give me feedback. And this give and take, back and forth, eventually helped me refine my own practice. I was being a little too verbose. So I wasn't getting through the whole lesson. And I wasn't getting to some of the higher level tasks as consistently as she was. And when she saw this, and I saw this, I was able to adjust, make changes, and by the end of the year, our data was indistinguishable.
Rose Zapata: In order for any of us to grow and be better, which ultimately means student achievement, we need someone to tell us, "This is going well, and this is not going so well. Here's a potential way to fix it."
Mike Fauteux: It's a reciprocal, positive relationship, where we both improve from that feedback, and so this type of relationship, I think, is more or less the secret to our success.