3 Ways Co-Teachers Can Work Together in Distance Learning

3 Ways Co-Teachers Can Work Together in Distance Learning

Co-teaching can be so rewarding. It benefits the students with two teachers and teachers benefit from having some to constantly collaborate with, but throw in distance learning and it is a whole new ballgame. How do co-teachers work together in distance learning?  Take a look at these 3 ways to ensure the co-teaching relationship continues to benefit everyone involved!

Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

Co-teaching is a fine art of communication. Oftentimes in the classroom, co-teachers do not even need to use words to communicate what will come next, but enter distance learning and more than ever, co-teachers need to make time to TALK.

A really effective way to make some time for those valuable discussions are to schedule check-ins, and try to make each other a priority. Be flexible and make time to check in even on unscheduled days. As an educator, you know how quickly anything can change.

Here are some  tips for your scheduled planning time. First, make the expectations together. I’m not just talking about expectations for the scholars either! Talk about what you expect from one another! Yes, you need to start with the basics because distance learning is not even close to in-person learning.  Be flexible with one another, but make sure to agree on how you will  evaluate student work, what live lessons will look like, and make decisions about who is creating the lessons. There are just so many variables in this type of learning that planning what works for your students is most vital to your co-teaching success. 

Another tip is to use FaceTime or Google Meet for planning sessions. Being able to see our co-teachers and being able to work simultaneously really does make a difference. Using Google Slides or Google Docs works really well also because you can collaborate on the same document. There are so many possibilities, but most importantly, both teachers need to be visible to our scholars, as they would be in a normal in-person classroom.

Share the Work

Alright, so you have planned and you know what you want to teach and how. Now is the time to buckle down and get it done. This is where you must share the work, but it isn’t just lesson planning. Take a look at some more ideas:

  •  Communicating with Families- We all know, as teachers in distance learning,  this communication with families is uniquely vital. Share this responsibility; don’t become overwhelmed with the amount of phone calls and emails. A quick tip, make sure to CC your co-teacher on all correspondence!  Also, document the conversations with families to talk about it in your planning meetings!

  •  Video Lessons- These types of lessons are very helpful in distance learning, so why not do them together? You would teach a lesson ping ponging ideas, so do it on a video too! (Google Meet allows you to share your screen and Screencastify records what is on your screen so those tools could help you with this!) The goal is to make both teachers visible, so even if you don’t record together, split the responsibility!

  •  Feedback for assignments- We know as teachers, feedback has to be timely to be effective, so take some time to plan how this will work and make sure to avoid it being overwhelming by sharing the workload. 

Be A Team

It is so important to remember that distance learning is a new puzzle for most of us. Co-teaching relationships take time to grow and flourish in a normal in-person classroom, but by making teamwork a priority, you are halfway to a terrific co-teaching relationship. Check out the co-teaching models and see what works for you. It is ok if what worked in the classroom doesn’t work in distance learning, just continue to  work as a team and see what works best for you. 

Possible Co-teaching Models

  •  One teach- One support-  You could have one main teacher and a moderator checking for engagement, behavior, cameras on, etc.

  •  Team Teach-  You could be equals in the lesson bouncing ideas off of each other, both teachers being leaders.

  •  Station teaching-  In this style, you divide the students into smaller groups and differentiate their learning with each teacher taking on a group. If you are using breakout rooms, you may even have an independent group that you check in on occasionally. You can share that responsibility also!

Finally, regardless of the model you choose, be a team. Use “we” when you speak to the students. Share your successes about your students. Also, make data accessible to both teachers, ensure both teachers post assignments and make sure both voices are heard.  Although distanced, our scholars need to see and hear us so continue to be rockstar co-teaching teams and use these 3 ways co-teachers can work together in distance learning!


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