Friday, September 17, 2010

Why all teachers should job share

Here is my argument for job sharing, and it does not have to do with working half time or having time away from your students, and it certainly doesn't have to do with getting paid less (a lot less).

Job sharing is allowing me to watch another great teacher teach.

Granted, I only got to teach with her the first two days of school.  Even so, those two days gave me a good sense of her as a teacher.  In those two days, I learned a lot.  Since then, we've talked on the phone and emailed quite a bit.  Every time I face a dilemma, I face it with her.  I benefit from her wisdom and experience, and she benefits from mine.

(And we both intend to go to school on our non-teaching days sometimes, just to watch each other.)

Teaching is an isolating profession.  This is a truth you will hear thousands of times.  My job is, compared to most teaching jobs, extremely collaborative.  In my grade-level team, we share responsibility for planning all lessons.  We make copies for each other.  We digitally document what we do so we can remember it for next year, but also so we can share it with each other.  Most of the time there is another adult teaching with me, sometimes more than one.

Despite all this teamwork, and despite having a skilled colleague teaching next door, I haven't gotten to share my classroom with an experienced teacher since I was a student teacher, ten years ago.

Since then, I've shared meeting space with many good teachers, but never a classroom.  I rarely set foot in other rooms to watch my colleagues, and no matter how much I think about my job and wrestle with ideas, I haven't been able to learn so deeply from another teacher in terms of day-to-day systems, ways of speaking, and the just plain fun of teaching.

So let it be known: all teachers should job share or co-teach at least every few years, to grease their intellectual wheels and enrich their practice.


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  2. That sounds amazing! I would love the opportunity to job share/co-teach and learn from another amazing educator.

    [any chance of you moving down here?]