Spouses Make Teaching a Team Effort

Article excerpt

Byline: Eileen O. Daday Daily Herald Correspondent

It took some getting used to for students in Room 152 at Dryden School in Arlington Heights. The day they started second grade, they found they had not one, but two teachers with the last name of Francis as their teachers.

Better yet, they're related. They're married, and they both teach the same class.

"It's very weird, they're married and they have the same job," says Carolyn Weis, 7, of Arlington Heights.

"It's not like anything I've ever seen before," says Connor Goodin, 7, of Arlington Heights.

That's right. Drew and Jan Francis job share the role of teaching second grade at Dryden School. He teaches all day Monday, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, while she teaches the three morning shifts and all day Friday.

"It makes the days seem shorter," adds Jeremy Ives, 7, of Arlington Heights. "Usually with one teacher you get kind of bored."

In doing so, they share the role of raising their seven-month- old son, Drew Anthony. They also are breaking new ground in Arlington Heights Elementary District 25. The district has had lots of job shares, but they never have had one between a husband and wife. Until this year.

"We're excited, it's all positive," says Dryden Principal Robert Jares. "We have the opportunity to have two outstanding teachers on our staff, and the students have great continuity between the husband and wife combination."

The unique situation came about as a result of the couple team- teaching together in Mexico for the last two years, they explain. Both had taught in district 25 prior to that; Jan Francis taught at Ivy Hill School, while Drew Francis had taught at Dryden.

"We were both teaching different sections of third grade," Drew Francis says of their stint at the American School Foundation in Monterey, Mexico. …