In the run up to Christmas I was fortunate to get the chance to try some team teaching with another colleague, Trish, who’s a great teacher and very attentive to her students needs. Together we planned a double lesson on Fairy Tales, which included some listening, reading, vocabulary and storytelling, and combined our two groups for the morning.
Students responded really well, seizing the opportunity to work with different people and make new friends. Although the two classes were of similar levels, putting them together widened the variety of levels within the group, but students happily supported and encouraged each other.
Trish and I worked really well together, both in the planning stages and the lesson itself, combining our strengths and both learning from each other. It was also a really enjoyable teaching experience as having two of us meant that we could respond to students needs as well as deal with technology and whiteboard preparations – one of us eliciting answers to an activity, for example, while the other wrote on the whiteboard. This not only took the pressure off us a little as teachers but also saved a lot of lesson time, enabling us to do more with the students.
It had crossed my mind that teaching together could be risky, as having more opportunity to ‘sit back’ might affect our energy levels as teachers (‘dropping the ball’ so to speak), but in fact we were both fully engaged throughout and I believe that this, in addition to pooling our resources and combining our strengths, improved the quality of the lessons for the students. In communicating to the group as a whole we bounced off and supported each other and it was nice to be able to try out ideas with a larger group.
Earlier this week we teamed up again to take our groups to Brighton Pier for a listening and storytelling project, and again the students were very positive about the experience, both during the lesson and on feedback forms.
It’s rare to have the opportunity to team-teach, but I believe it can be very revealing about our individual teaching styles and so, like observations, a constructive development tool. And it’s not only beneficial to students’ learning, but also makes a refreshing change for everyone involved.
Always good to shake things up once in a while!