Sunday, July 6, 2014

Selecting co-teaching pairs

Just like everyone’s not cut out for marriage, some teachers just won’t be successful as a co-teacher. Principals and those involved in hiring, have an opportunity to  screen applicants for potential future candidates. First, and foremost, we look for open and flexible teachers. Probing so that the hiring team can determine the true essence of the candidate, is, of course the challenge. Asking questions and engaging the candidate in conversation on topics of experience with new learning, working on collaborative teams, and attitudes regarding inclusion may help screen candidates.

When choosing co-teaching pairs from within existing staff, this  co-teacher selection checklist can help.  In my experience, when teachers have worked together in a school prior to the inclusion program, it is best to allow co-teachers to choose each other. Teachers that have committed independent of administrative direction, are more likely to be successful.

Support of the co-teaching pair is critical. Especially if the pair has chosen to work together, they may be hesitant to seek help from an administrator when they have conflicts that aren’t getting resolved. It is difficult for people who are working together closely to confront issues in a direct manner. Just like in marriage, we may assume that things will “work themselves out.” It’s best to just assume that, after a few weeks into the year, there may be issues that would best be addressed through a formal meeting structure. Getting all the co-teaching pairs together and using a cooperative structure such as “inside, outside circle” and asking some open-ended  questions such as “What’s it like to share resources? What co-operative learning structures have you used this routinely this year? Are students being treated fairly? How are we doing with grading? How are assessments being created? Has parity been established?” Just asking some of those questions  will help start a conversation towards resolving issues that may be brewing. This article by Dr. Wendy Murawski can provide many conversation starters.

Co-teaching can bring out and utilize the best of two teachers but only with work. Administrators need to be attentive to what is going on both in and outside the classroom with co-teachers, giving them feedback and support as needed.


  1. Thanks for the questions and resource. I never really thought about it before, but co-teaching is WORK and must be worked at. Can't wait to share this with my teacher friends.

  2. Great Article! I think that the article is a great (and tangible) resource and tool that can be used as a jumping off point, middle point or reflection point (or all 3!) for both members of the pair! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love co-teaching. Thanks for the resource.