I am a big fan of a classroom setting where there are two teachers in one room. This type of setting is usually for classes that have 40% students with a Learning Disability. Not only can it be a great experience for the students – it is in my opinion fantastic to have one more adult in the room to assist against the mayhem and tackle the sometimes daunting task of meeting educational needs for so many.
In the past five years I am so pleased to say that I have had some really wonderful experiences working with co-teachers. Not every situation began as a dream but I found a way to the bright side and ended the year with some truly positive experiences. I have made new friends from my working relationships. I have learned so much about myself and pushed myself to do more for my students.
I have worked with teachers who are great at sharing information and co-planning, and I have worked with others who struggle to work as a true team or are slacking in their planning skills. Regardless of the good and the bad, we learned as adults and go through to those kids.
Then I started the school year this September and my whole perspective and experience flipped inside out, upside down and spun me around. There are a lot of issues with how my school is run and I am sure I will discuss and expose them as I continue this blog. For now let me just say programming students and teachers is not our forte. I have come to believe that when the Assistant Principles “get together” to decide who will teach what class and which teachers will teach inclusion classes – they put all of names on index cards and throw them in the air. Where ever you land decides your fate. I seriously think this is how they do it. There can be no other explanation for the organizational hodgepodge they call programs.
I was programmed to teach two inclusion Lit classes for Sophomores with two different teachers. This is a pain. Also, both teachers are Deans, meaning they work in the disciplinary office. In our school, Deans only have to teach 2 classes. Let me repeat that for future resonance. In our school, Deans only have to teach 2 classes. I teach five. I was not given common planning time with either co-teacher.
On the day I was told with whom I would be working, several people asked me about my inclusion classes and when I told them the teachers with whom I was assigned to work – they laughed, rolled their eyes and went into a 10 minute monologue about how I got the shit end up the stick. Great. I didn’t know either teacher but tried to stay positive none the less.
One of these teachers was a guy from here on out I shall call him GUY. He told me on the first day that he has no desire to teach anymore. Great first day attitude right. I told him to either quit now or get over it till June. He then proceeded to tell me that he can’t really plan lessons and doesn’t want to learn now (he has been teaching 15+years) and he is a drunk (his words not mine) so he is too irresponsible and immature to really run a class.
So needless to say – this did not feel like it was going to be a wonderful teaching experience. -And it wasn’t. Still isn’t…I will periodically unfold the torrential details of my 10 weeks in the classroom with GUY…look for it in the WTF files. I think right now the only way I can make sense of this and maybe find a positive outcome is to write about it.