By Joel Ayala and Colin Walker
Co-teaching is a system where a class is taught by two teachers simultaneously, especially one general education and one special education teacher.
With two teachers present in a classroom students have easier access to help and a more engaging learning environment. This also removes some stress from our teachers by sharing the workload.
There are co-taught classes in the math, science and history departments in cooperation with the special education department.
Although co-teaching sounds great on paper, there are some challenges to this system. Many teachers find it hard to adapt to having another teacher in the classroom. It can also be a challenge when co-teachers do not have the same teaching style. Making sure that a partner teachers work well together is key in making sure that students can receive the full benefits of having teachers.
Co-Teaching would also have a negative effect on the budget of the school if it were more widely implemented since schools would have to hire twice the amount of teachers.
For that reason, we appreciate the voluntary nature of the program on campus. Teachers can choose whether to co-teach so that teachers have the opportunity to adapt to such a huge change in the classroom.
Our first encounter with the co-teaching system came during online school in our sophomore history class. Although many struggled to keep online learning engaging, every student in our class was engaged in the material and able to get the help they needed.
Personally, having two people explain the material helped us interpret it into our own understanding making it easier to learn. Even though the second teacher was there to work with the higher number of special education students in our class, both teachers worked with everyone in the class, so we all benefitted.
When we came back to school in eleventh grade, our history class was co-taught as well. Having two different point of views and teaching styles keeps the class fresh and engaging.
Help was always available if needed and having the ability to have things explained in different ways makes it easier to absorb the material. In our experience, classes that were co-taught were our favorite classes because the classes were engaging, more efficient, and teachers were able to cater to all the different students’ learning styles.
History teacher Charles Klevs co-teaches with special education teacher Jon Bent and aide Sylvia Eisen. He said the experience has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on both his students and his own classroom experience.
“Working with Mr. Bent and Mrs. Eisen has been the best move of my teaching career,” Klevs said.
The advantage to having two teachers in the classroom is that if a student doesn’t understand how one teacher says it then it will get restated by another teacher making it easier for students to understand the material.
“Being able to constantly collaborate and bounce ideas off each other lets us create the best environment for all of our learners,” Bent said.
Also having two teachers collaborating on classroom assignments keeps things fresh for students.
“More eyes, more brains, more point of views, different ways of explaining things,” Klevs said about the advantages of having two teachers present in the classroom.