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Responses Needed! Opinions on sharing a class with another teacher..

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by Rmw94, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. Rmw94

    Rmw94 New commenter


    I am currently writing an assignment on the positives and negatives of a class having two teachers. I don't mean teaching at the same time, I just mean Teacher A having the class Monday and Tuesday and then Teacher B having the same class on Friday.. Any one have experiences of this and any strong opinions or comments on whether it works or not?

    Would be grateful!
  2. MissHallEnglish

    MissHallEnglish Occasional commenter Forum guide and community helper

    Due to staffing issues in school, most of our KS3 classes are split. We are a department of 6 (x3 full time/x3 part time) and this year we also have 5 non-specialists teaching our KS3 classes. Quite frankly, it's a nightmare and certainly not of benefit to the students.
    Consistency and routine plays a big part in developing consistently good/outstanding results - unfortunately our SLT seem to believe that once students get to KS4 there is a magic formula or a magic wand we wave to achieve our results. It's incredibly hard work to fill gaps in knowledge or skills, that have been missed, neglected or not dealt with at KS3.
  3. oHelzo

    oHelzo Occasional commenter

    I've seen it before, where the work was split into modules or topics. Teacher A might cover one topic (and then a second if they had them for double the hours) and Teacher B a different topic. I have seen it come undone when they tried to follow on from each other within the same topic, so the preferred option was as above.
  4. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    We always share at A Level. Split by topic or by exam module. Works fine. Interesting twist is to revise the other teacher's topics, provides a fresher viewpoint. Always good to blunder into the other teacher's lesson and join in, too! Need to rotate the topics if possible, otherwise someone ends up teaching the USSR 1917-38 year on year and loses touch with the Corn Laws.
    We tried at A level sharing in a linear manner, so teacher A's lesson leads into teacher B's and so on, only one topic being taught at a time. We thought the immersion would help. It didn't. Despite lots of communication in the handovers and so on, far too many loose ends.
    I have limited experience of teaching one lesson/week at KS4 for a colleague who had the lion's share of that class's timetable but who simply couldn't be timetabled for that last lesson. He told me exactly what he wanted done in each lesson; I planned and taught it. That seemed to work fine, but we didn't really want to repeat unless necessary.

    I appreciate that all you'll get here is anecdote: I certainly don't have data!
    wanet likes this.
  5. Rmw94

    Rmw94 New commenter

    Thanks everyone,this is really useful!
  6. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    We share at A Level, as do many schools.

    In English, I've done the following:

    - Split by module (paper). Simple, straightforward. But works out a little uneven: what does the teacher doing the coursework module do after May 14th when the essays have been submitted, and the exam's not til mid-June?

    And a potential problem (from a HoD perspective): suppose the teachers have different levels of experience or confidence? If you both teach the same paper, then it's easy to collaborate and monitor/offer support on a very informal basis without the less confident teacher even realising. If you're doing totally different units, then it's just that bit more obvious.

    You can also split by texts (eg, colleague teaches Text A on Paper 1, I teach Text B).

    But KS3/KS4? NIghtmare.
  7. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    My school always shared A level groups, splitting by topic rather than module so that we all got experience of all the modules. As a late entrant into teaching, I found it helpful as I only had to prepare ahlf of each module the first time round, and there was a more experienced teacher to offer me support. Later on, I was able to be the more experienced teacher.

    We sometimes sometimes split other classes where timetabling was a problem, which was usually done by splitting by topic. The time it worked best was when I shared a Year 7 group with a colleague; both of us has taught the same course a few times. We agreed to teach the SoW exacly as scheduled, passing topics from one to another. The handover was on the lines of "we've done basic linear equations - they need a bit more practice before moving on to equations with the unknown on both sides." It only worked because we both knew the syllabus well enpough to teach anything at the drop of a hat, and had similar approaches, so I could say "Mrs X will have told you..." with great confidence. A couple of years later, a student from that class asked why they did not always have two teachers, so it must have worked!
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    In my first school, the number of maths lessons to be taught by each teacher was not divisible by 3, so we almost all had split groups. In addition we had one job-share pair, whose groups were almost all split, usually with each other.
    We split the syllabus between us, and worked in different books, working out a deal between us on homework, reports, etc.
    What was clear was that in almost every combination, there would be some pupils who preferred teacher A and some who preferred teacher B, and they felt they did better with the one they preferred. The job-share pair were quite different, so you could see that they suited different pupils. Sure, they might have done better if they had their preferred teacher all of the time, but they might have done worse if they'd had the other all of the time.
    We didn't find the split classes did any worse for it being split.
    We were all subject specialists, which makes a big difference. I suspect that when one is not, then it doesn't work so well, and there is a tendency for all the responsibility to fall on the specialist. I guess that sort of split is tempting so that everyone gets a specialist, but it's a specialist who is over-stretched by having to be the lead teacher for three groups in place of two non-shared groups.
  9. VeronicAmb

    VeronicAmb Occasional commenter

    In the English dept., we split classes at A-level.

    Modular A-levels was split between the different sections in each paper. For example AQA A Modern Identity - we tried to split the workload evenly. For c/w, teacher A would have 2 dramas which and teacher B had 1 big prose. So for the exam, the teacher A would teach a prose and teacher B would teach poetry anthology.

    For linear, there was no way I was putting my dept. through the "co-teachable" nonsense. It might work for other A-levels, but it's complicated for us as timetabling, option blocks, etc. Since we're with Edexcel, we've just decided to go with our strengths/ what we most enjoy. I'm teaching the prose exam and the c/w since I will have more time to mark. Whilst others have picked poetry or drama, etc because that's what they prefer to teach. It makes sense trying to do it that way. But of course, not every dept. are that amiable.

    For Maths and English KS4, we don't split classes. But for Science I think they do as most of our students opt for additional or triple science. I do believe teachers who have a degree/specialise in a dual-science like Biochemistry will teach the majority of the science. But if a science teacher as a Biology degree, they would just teach more additional science and maybe 1 class of the triple to only teach the biology units.

    The GCSE options are split in all subjects like: Psychology, History, Geography, Sociology, etc. Teacher A will teach one class 3x a fortnight and Teacher B will teach the same class 2x a fortnight. This means Teacher A will teach 1 topic, whilst Teacher B will teach the other. Note that in year 11, the roles are switched e.g Teacher A 2x fortnight and Teacher B 3x fortnight. (We usually have 2 or 3 groups of the same subject but in different option blocks so it works out with even timetables.)

    For Foreign Languages, our schools says you HAVE to do 1 language from French, Spanish, German, Greek, Italian and Ancient Greek. They have 1 teacher for this over 6x a fortnight.

    We try never to split classes in Year KS3, esp in Year 7 as they are taught in their form classes. Throughout KS3, we don't split, but if we have to, we would. Timetabling for my English Dept. 2 years ago was awful. Half of year seven had 2 teachers and that was a nightmare to run around and make sure this-and-that were being done correctly and to SLT standards. Do not recommend one bit!
  10. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    We split at a level as a deliberate choice which works well. We split by topic based on strengths etc.
    At KS3, we've split by topic due to staffing e.g. Part time etc. With communication, that's never been a problem as long as the arrangement is consistent.
    I've also seen KS3 split between specialists, non-specialists and unqualified staff. That wa very difficult for the qualified staff who felt they were having to do more work ensuring their class share partner was on track etc - that was stressful.
  11. moonirules

    moonirules New commenter

    Like a lot of people have said, we split at A level to play on staff strengths. It works really well. We also now split at KS4 but I am less convinced by this. There needs to be consistency in the delivery of the content which the students are not getting. I have also raised questions about how this affects PM. When it was trialed last year (before I started) there was a class that marginally missed passing at national averages (PM target) and a bitter row ensued between the teachers sharing the class as to who was to blame. Unsurprisingly - the teacher on the leadership spine won and it was deemed the main scale teachers fault. That very same leadership scale teacher now shares all of their KS4 classes - you can imagine how those sharing with them feel.
  12. amazingpurplecow

    amazingpurplecow New commenter

    I'm currently teaching split KS4 and KS5 classes, we split groups because that's how the timetable is written (by a member of SLT who has seemingly little interest in subject specialism or delivery of the subject.) For me it depends upon the person I share with and the course being delivered. At the moment I share two different subjects with the same person. BTEC delivery at KS5 is easy, we just divide the units and don't overlap - this works really well. For the GCSE group we have completely differently approaches and have no time to talk about the delivery, as a result their coursework is a little hit and miss and my (more senior) colleague often repeats what I've already taught but gives the group a mixed message. We constantly contradict each other, very frustrating.
  13. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Ideally each teacher teaches a separate topic. Where that's not possible then good communication is absolutely essential. I've worked in one school where I've shared many classes and topics but because the communication was really excellent it was never a problem. In another school where the lead teacher would create or change resource material and what they wanted the class taught at short notice (ie on my days off) and I would find out only when I arrived to teach the class that my planned lesson was now worse than useless, it was an absolute nightmare.

    If sharing a class you have to trust the other teacher, and they you, and you need to talk to each other (not just emails), or it really doesn't work.
  14. Dhaliwal123

    Dhaliwal123 New commenter

    hate it. Different teaching styles and standards does not help the students or the teacher!
  15. lorddemonod

    lorddemonod New commenter

    split teacing at A level is fine and actuall works wel if you have teachers with specialisms within their subject area ie human/ physical geography. I ks3 and 4 I do not think it works as classroom/ behaviour management tend to have a far greater role to play and two staff never seem to be quite on par with their approaches to things. It has happened at my school and where the staff have time to 'handover' and share information the continuity of approach is far better - it was a job share.

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