Harry Wong
Dec 2017
Vol 14 No 4

20 Things to Never Say to Your Co-teacher When Co-teaching by Susan Fitzell

By Susan Fitzell
  1. “I’ll do my thing, you do yours.”

Your co-teacher hears: I’m not interested in being collaborative.

  1. “You take your students and I’ll take my students.” within student earshot.

Your co-teacher hears: I’m not interested in being collaborative.

Your students hear: That teacher doesn’t care about me.

  1. “I can’t teach your special ed students unless you’re physically present in the classroom.”

Your co-teacher hears: Your special ed students aren’t my problem. I only teach kids that aren’t on an IEP.

  1. “This is my classroom. Take care of your kids. I am the real teacher.”

Your co-teacher hears: I not only don’t respect you or your teaching skills, I have no interest in being collaborative.

  1. “I don’t know why they are in this class. Those SpEd students can’t do this.”

Your co-teacher hears: I’ve made up my mind that the SpEd students can’t learn and that they don’t belong in this class.

  1. “I am so lucky I don’t have your class this year!”

Your ex-co-teacher hears: I hated working with you.

  1. “Thank you but I don’t need your help, I can handle this myself.”

Your co-teacher hears: I don’t respect you or your teaching skills.

  1. “Mrs/Ms./Mr. will be assisting me today.” said in front of the class

Your co-teacher hears: I don’t respect you or your teaching skills.

Your students hear: The SpEd teacher isn’t my/a real teacher.

  1. “Anything you need from me today?”

Your co-teacher hears: Being in class with you to benefit our students is not a priority of mine. You and the students are not important.

  1. Never start any statement with the phrase, “I know…,” and never use the conjunction, “but”. Example: I know you worked hard on that lesson, but some kids seemed confused.”

Two teachers in the classroom can, and has been proven to be, good for ALL the students in the classroom – when both co-teachers respect and work well with each other. Most of us teach because we want to make a difference for kids. Consider how much more impact you can make with another teacher’s skill set available for you to partner with and capitalize upon.

One co-teacher sums it up with, “If you have a trusting relationship, you can say almost anything because your co-teacher trusts you.” Yet, we know that the words we choose can make or break that trusting relationship. Now that we know what not to say to our co-teacher, what CAN we say that would still express what we need to say yet, in a way that builds trust?

About the author

Susan Gingras Fitzell, M. Ed, CSP specializes in transforming teaching from whole class instruction that teaches to the middle to instruction that structures and enhances lessons to reach every student, whether gifted or struggling. She’s a dynamic, nationally recognized presenter, author of over a dozen books for teachers and parents, and an educational consultant. Susan speaks from experience in the classroom! Her work focuses on building caring school communities and helping students and teachers succeed in the inclusive classroom.
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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 1st, 2018 and is filed under *ISSUES, February 2018, Susan Fitzell. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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