This year is my first year in a true partner teaching role. In the past I have team taught – working with another colleague in the classroom in a specialized setting – but this is my first year having another math/science expert to plan similar learning experiences with. For me, partner teaching consists of my colleague and I having a similar assignment (Math and Science 8) so that we are able to constantly collaborate/work together to plan and mark. More importantly though a partner teacher is someone just as crazy as me that doesn’t say no, or I don’t think so, but embraces each idea, brings their own wild ideas and dives in head first excited about the unknown experiences to come.
So far this process has been invaluable. It’s made us both more reflective about our teaching practice. Thoughtful planning with a colleague has meant our students are pushed harder and a better learning environment has been created. There have even been days where we bring all of our classes together and we teach them as one big class together. Each day we are held to a higher standard than we were previously, not because we weren’t doing our job effectively before, but now we have someone to consistently bounce ideas off of and gather feedback from to move our teaching practices forward.
The one thing I have noticed so far is that partner teaching is way more work. People have told me that it becomes less work eventually, but I’m not sure I believe them. Each day we re-imagine lessons and ideas we’ve used in the past. The both of us are pushing our student’s capacities for learning more than before and amazing things are happening. I don’t see us ever accepting what we’ve done in the past as the best way of doing something. Each year we will have new students and this will result in us re-conceptualizing how we teach each topic.
So far this year has been filled with learning and I can’t wait to see what other opportunities present themselves and what levels we will be able to take our students to next.
Until next time,