“The thing I loved the most – and still love the most about teaching – is that you can connect with an individual or a group, and see that individual or group exceed their limits.”
– Attributed to Mike Krzyzewski
I thoroughly enjoyed the role that I had last year as an RFF teacher focused on teaching digital literacies. It afforded me the opportunity to experience a wide range of students, to try pedagogical strategies with different class groups to see what worked, and on occasion, what most definitely did not work, and to get a greater feel for what kind of teacher I want to be, without the pressures of being a permanent teacher on a single class and the associated additional responsibilities that are attached to that role such as the extra administration, reports (though I had to complete reports, it was significantly less stressful and time-consuming than my colleagues), PLAN data, parent communication etc.
This year, as mentioned in my previous article, I am job-sharing with a more experienced colleague on a Year Five class, and while I am feeling more nervous about teaching a single class and having those additional responsibilities, I am also more excited than I was last year. In particular, I am excited about the sentiment expressed in the opening quote. I saw growth in many of my students last year, and formed some strong working relationships with various students, however, I found it difficult jumping from class to class, or even Stage to Stage and regularly not being able to continue with a particular lesson that the class was thoroughly engaged with and where deep learning was occurring because my timetable required me to move on to the next class.
This year, whilst there is a timetable that needs to be adhered to, learning milestones that need to be hit and external factors that need to be allowed for, I will have the opportunity to really connect with my students and see them day-to-day, rather than once a week, and see learning opportunities through to completion and experience the growth across the year that students will undergo.
I met with my teaching partner, Mrs. W, a few times throughout January to get some planning and programming completed, to determine the mechanics of how the classroom would function, management strategies, division of labour across particular Key Learning Areas etc. and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, largely, we were on the same page to begin with. Mrs. W had some fantastic ideas that she wanted to implement and she was accepting of many of my ideas.
This start makes me believe that we will be able to successfully work together during the year, as long as we continue to communicate. I have never worked in a job-sharing arrangement in any of my previous occupations, though I know many who have, and have heard both horror and success stories. I am encouraged that my school has a strong history of successful job-sharing partnerships in recent years.
The year ahead promises to be exciting, and Mrs. W and I have had lots of conversations about various programs we want to put in place including both literacy and numeracy, and classroom management.
Have you taught in a job-share arrangement before? What strategies made it successful or unsuccessful? Let me know in the comments.