Fun Times with a Funky Schedule

Exploring the advantages of co-teaching

~ By Monica

Throughout these past several months I have had my share of learning experiences that I can take away into my future career. One of these was my time co-teaching with some of my fellow English teachers at their schools.

Because of my school’s small size, my schedule is quite different from everyone else’s. I’m always done with class by 11:20am instead of 12:10pm like the other morning teachers. I also have no classes on Wednesday and I’m finished by 10:00am on Fridays. For this reason, I needed to do some additional teaching to meet my requirement for hours. As a solution I went to Gloria’s school, Andres, on Wednesdays to help her co-teach. I also went to Stephan’s first and third grade classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

When I first began, my altered schedule was a little hectic and confusing. I was trying to learn my own students’ names and now I was helping teach several classes of more children and two additional schools. However, once I got used to my schedule and role in another classroom, I began to see the unique advantages that came with co-teaching.

By regularly attending other schools I was able to observe the different teaching styles between Gloria, Stephan, and myself. There were some techniques in classroom management that Gloria used that I thought would be beneficial with my own classes. I was able to see how Stephan approached some lessons differently and was able to utilize those in my first/third grades. Typically, on Tuesdays I would have already done my lesson for third grade before going to Stephan’s school, so I was able to give him a heads-up on how to do the lesson differently if I had any difficulties earlier on. Hopefully my fellow co-teachers also benefited from this unique classroom experience.

Now that we’re nearing the end of the program, I can look back and see what a cool opportunity it was to be involved in three out of the four public primary schools here on Isla Mujeres. Even if I only assisted with several classes, the other students still knew who I was. When we would hear the classic “Teacher!” from a student who saw us outside of school, I usually end up waving no matter who it is. Because if it isn’t mine, there’s a good chance they know me from spending time at their school. I would almost recommend co-teaching for all of the English teachers on Isla because of all of the benefits I ended up taking away from it. The exposure to different teaching styles, lesson approaches, and chance to get to know more kids on the island definitely has made my funky schedule an advantageous part of my teaching experience here in Isla Mujeres.