Saturday, January 9, 2010

Teaching with Another Teacher

Many times in a week I push in to a classroom to teach movement or visit a school as a teaching artist to teach ballet. I also have many times in a week that I have my own classes and there is not another teacher present. I am thinking I like my own classes better, but I was wondering about what can make collaborating with a teacher easier? Here are some of my observations...

*Most of the time teachers already have quiet signals, floor spots, rules, and words they use in every class that the students are familiar with. Even if the teacher does not tell me what these are (even if I ask) I still try to pick up on the words and tones of the classroom. This helps me adapt to what the students already know. It keeps it consistent and easy to follow for the students.

*Another challenge I find as a teaching artist is creating goals. Of course as a teacher, I have goals for my students. BUT since they are not "my" students, I try to keep the goals broad. I am positive that the teachers have their own goals for their students in their dance room or classroom. Even if we discuss these before hand, it takes time to adapt to the goals of their classroom. I try to focus on just one at a time, once we have mastered one goal, we move on to the next. Example: Doing a ballet warm-up without talking (this is hard for 2nd graders to do, just saying!)

*One more challenge for me is knowing the students- 1- There are so many of them I can't learn their names in the short amount of time I am there. 2- I don't know their behavior history and if the classroom teacher is not helpful with discipline, it's hard to get anything accomplished.

Do any of you push into a classroom or dance room? Are you a teaching artist? What challenges do you face with the teacher or the students? I find it more challenging than having your own class of students. It seems to me though that having one more teacher involved should make it easier- Right? Not so much! Maybe it's time to leave the teaching artist world?

I would love to hear your ideas on this!

In the meantime movecreateeducate...


  1. I have a little trick for names. I have a TERRIBLE memory when it comes to this. Ask them their favorite ANYTHING and have them say it with their name (put a mvt w/ it as well if they are older). Joanie Cheese! Maria ...? I find its much easier to remember their names this way and the kids love it! :)

  2. Yes, I'm going to comment again. haha! Last semester I was scheduled to team teach for 2 of my ballet classes. It was my hardest teaching challenge thus far. I ended up taking on the role of "alignment adjuster and bathroom tripper" because I found it so difficult. I realized that my teaching style was so drastically different from my co-worker that there was no way for us to pass the class back and forth without looking like soldier prima cop/ silly, lets have fun cop (me!) It's hard when you have the energy from another disciplinarian in the room. If you are in a classroom, I think the only thing you can do is have a talk with the other teacher beforehand and clearly establish what your "roles" will be and be sure to stick with them. I'm curious to see if anyone else has advice on this.

  3. Thank you for your comments Joanie! These are great tips! I like the name idea! I will try it for sure! It's hard because in a dance room in a school, I feel like the teacher is in charge of her room and her students. So sometimes I feel like it's impossible for me to really teach the kids as I would normally if there wasn't another set of eyes watching my every move. I don't know if this translates from words to brain but I hope it makes sense. I totally understand what your saying about just being "helper" and not offering your full potential. Teach teaching is hard, hard, hard