It’s hard to believe that we are heading into the last week of school before the break. In previous years, I have been ready for the break, but this year has been different. This year I’m almost in shock that we are at this point in the year. I am attributing this feeling to the fact that I have had so many wonderful learning experiences and deep conversations.
I had the opportunity to have a couple deep conversations this week with Andrew Bieronski and one of the main topics was around the idea of team teaching. Andrew is one of the most forward thinking and passionate educators in the WRDSB and the depth of conversations about education always cause me to reflect.
Andrew was able to visit my 3UU class this week and in reflecting on the experience, I am convinced that team teaching is something we need to research and experience with our classes. When Andrew was there, my 3UU students had a work period for their passion projects and I got the opportunity to observe his interactions with my students as well as reflect with them after.
Here are some of our observations and reflections:
- The students really enjoyed having another learner in the room. They appreciated being able to share their thinking and explain how they plan to enact their vision for the project.
- They appreciated that another learner was interested in hearing about a topic in which they are passionate.
- The most important reflection, however, was that they appreciated hearing his feedback and suggestions. As Andrew and I are different people, we obviously have different skills, strengths, and interests. Andrew was able to provide feedback about the various topics that are not in my skill set. For example, one of my students is researching nanotechnology which is something that I know next to nothing about, however, it is an area of interest for Andrew. After Andrew left, that student was able to further his research as well as focus his project in a way that I couldn’t provide. In a traditional space, I might feel badly that I couldn’t be the expert, but in our learning space, it makes me think about the potential of team teaching.
I’m also curious about what happens when you have two teachers in the room in areas such as gender. I wonder how students will react if a male and female teacher are in the room. How will that influence the students when it comes to thinking about gender roles and how we treat each other? I’m also curious about assessment. If you have two people having conversations, making observations, and providing feedback, I can imagine that the students could only benefit from all the additional feedback as well as we would have a more complete picture of the abilities and skill levels in the classroom.
I really think the possibilities are only limited by our imagination, creativity, and unfortunately, funding. Still the experience has me thinking…