In the opening days of school last week, a presenter was having a hard time with the display of her computer on the Smart Board. A co-teaching pair was nearby and I asked Christina if she’d help the presenter. With a few swift clicks, the screen was on display. Christina’s teaching partner, Joan said, so that all in the session could hear, “Christina is just great with technology. Even better than that, she is so helpful and doesn’t make you feel stupid because you couldn’t figure it out.”
We often fail to compliment our peers publicly, or at all. This co-teaching pair has been very intentional to do just that as they began working together a year ago. When they began their partnership in 4th grade, Joan and Christina attended a 2- day workshop and explored what they each liked, couldn’t tolerate, did well, hated to do, and more. They learned a lot of co-teaching strategies that they have made work well in their classroom. But none of those strategies would be effective if the co-teaching pair didn’t get through the hurdles that we encounter in any close relationship, i.e. a marriage.
Christina and Joan model their good working relationship for their students. In the first days of school, I visited their classroom as they guided the students through various routines and use of materials. The two teachers compliment each other, thank each other, offer to help the other one—all things that we want our students to do with each other.
Encourage teachers who work together closely to find the strengths in each other as well as themselves. Acknowledging them openly will strengthen the relationship of the pair as well benefiting the students.