How to work with your co-teacher to create a positive classroom community
At the beginning, sharing a classroom might not seem easy. Getting to know a new person takes time, and from day one, you and your co-teacher are on display in front of 20 kiddos who are all watching and learning from every interaction you have. How will you set the stage?
Ms. Lucy and Ms. Kalie began working together in March of 2022 and have formed a strong bond in their classroom since then. They attribute their success to teamwork, encouragement, asking questions, communicating, and laughter during a long day.
Teamwork–Two heads are better than one! Both teachers should contribute ideas for classroom themes, books, activities, and lessons. The classroom is your shared space, and truthfully your home away from home. You should both feel welcome and comfortable while you are at work.
Encourage – Your co-teacher should be your biggest supporter! If one of you has a new idea, encourage them! Help them work through their thoughts and together, you may come up with something awesome.
Ask – When in doubt, just ask! Clarifying information is extremely important and avoids conflict over misunderstandings.
Communicate–Having a great day? Let your co-teacher know! Having an off day? Let your co-teacher know! Feeling overwhelmed and need to take a quick break? Let your co-teacher know! We are a team and communicating your thoughts and feelings, constructively, is the key to a successful classroom.
Humor– You work with your co-teacher every day. It is important to laugh! Working with children can be stressful, making each other smile and laugh can be the solution to a long day.
Every day, we tell children to use their words, but it is not enough just to tell them, it is our job to model this for them too! Children are always watching and listening. As co-teachers, we should be modeling successful, and respectful, interactions. Just because one is considered a lead and the other an assistant does not mean one’s input is more important than the others. Listen to each other, learn from each other, and your classroom is going to thrive.
Written by: Lucienne “Lucy” Belleau & Kalie Dowdy (former (LB) and current (KD) Green Room teachers in Munroe Falls) 04/20/2023