It’s Tricky Being A Tandem

Today was the first official day of the 2006 school year and I greeted my new class along with my tandem teaching offsider, Nat. Because my coordinator role has been boosted in its time commitment throughout our school, I am teaching two and a half days of the possible five in this classroom. And in Nat, it is the first time since I came to this school that I have had the same tandem teaching partner from one year to the next. That's a good thing because we get along well and are both willing to negotiate the job of carving up the curriculum. The boss agreed to have both of us start off with the class today, both from a good PR point of view (parents need to be assured that a shared class is not an inferior option) and to give the students a clear consistent picture of our expectations. This afternoon, when the kids were off at their first Science lesson for the year, we started to try and construct our English curriculum plan for the term. It wasn't easy. Two educators trying to create a unified approach means that we both kept trying to be considerate of each other's ideas. Here's the rub - a solo full time teacher decides totally (or in consultation with their students if they are of a constructivist bent) what and how the curriculum is delivered. To be a successful tandem teacher, you have to be prepared to negotiate, give way on some ideas that you hold dear and work a lot harder on classroom planning than most people would realise. However, the upside for me is seeing that there is more going on around my school beyond my classroom "container" and the kids get the expertise of two teachers.

That's it - time for a rest from exclusively reflective posts for a while. Time to interact with others and crank up the conversation.

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