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July 5, 2013

Team Teaching Tips

Polka Dot Lesson Plans

I am taking a break from Five for Friday linky, and linking up with Courtney @ Polka Dot Lesson Plans. 

I've been team teaching on and off for the last 15 years. Sometimes, I got to pick my partner, but not always. Sometimes, I was the Math/Science teacher, but in my last 4 partnerships, I was the Language Arts/S.S. teacher. Either way, every time you start a new partnership, you have to collaborate. If you and your partner are on the same page, your students will benefit.

Here are some quick tips:
1. Let your students know that you and your partner are a TEAM. At the beginning of school, we combined classes to do activities. Later in the year, we would often have little "meetings" in the hall while our students were switching classes. They usually involved laughing.  We, also, had an open door policy. I felt comfortable walking into their room and vice versa.  

2. Conference with parents together. This is one of the biggest advantages to team teaching, especially if you have a difficult parent(s) or have to discuss a difficult topic. I have, also, found that I often get a new perspective on my students, because they act differently or have different strengths and weaknesses in my partner's classroom. 

3. Create a common behavior management system. My last partner and I both used Class Dojo. [Click here to read more about Class Dojo.] 

4. At report card time, we compared conduct grades before entering them to make sure we were on the same page. We, also, discussed comments for each student. 

5. Use your strengths. If one of you is outgoing and sociable, let them take the lead on phone calls to parents. If the other one is quiet and organized, let them send home conference notes and create the schedule. [Can you guess which one I am?]

6. Just like in any relationship, keep the lines of communication open. If something is bothering you, discuss it. Otherwise, you will be with a new partner next year. 

Self-contained is great, because the kids are "yours", but departmentalized is awesome, because it allows you to focus on your subjects and share "your" kids.

Now, I'm off to pick up some more team teaching tips.


  1. Love your tips, Krisitin! I was blessed to have you as my mentor for team teaching!

    Teaching With Moxie

  2. Kristin, thanks so much for linking up! I'm really glad you mentioned having conferences together. My team always does and I think its so important for the parents to see that you work as team with their kids. I've always had those team meetings in the hallway before - supre fun - I'll have to bring that back this year! Thanks for the tips.
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

  3. I LOVE Class Dojo! Nothing like positive reinforcement.