Magazine article AMLE Magazine

Mentor Me

Magazine article AMLE Magazine

Mentor Me

Article excerpt

When two professionals share the same classroom, the door opens to all sorts of potential problems. The general education teacher may believe her domain has been invaded and her leadership has been compromised. The special education teacher may believe she is being underutilized and her role in the classroom diminished to the extent that rather than a full partner in education, she's more of an aide.

The first step in a co-teaching situation such as this is to establish who has overall authority over what aspects of the classroom. Ideally, the general education teacher should take responsibility for the curriculum-basically the "what" aspect of what goes on in the classroom. The special education teacher should be responsible for contributing some of the "how" of the lessons-the strategies the educators should use to teach the concepts. In this fashion, both professionals are using their skills for the benefit of the students.

This is where patience is key. The special education teacher should proceed with thoughtfulness and some caution; she is the "guest" in the classroom and therefore must in a sense earn the respect of the general education teacher. The special education teacher must ensure the general education teacher feels comfortable giving her responsibility in the classroom. As the general education teacher and the special education teacher feel more comfortable together and their respect for each other grows, they can increase their levels of collaboration. …

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