Teachers instructing a class together opens doors for students
Not only are these BSM classes innovative with multiple teachers in front of the classroom, but they make an impact on students' learning.
February 27, 2017
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BSM takes pride in having devoted teachers who are passionate about their students. To many students, having a personal relationship with their teachers creates a strong learning environment. Being able to connect with students and open them up to a better understanding of a topic is an important skill, and it’s an entirely new ballgame when team teaching comes into play.
Team teaching is a relatively new teaching practice at BSM; it’s only been an option within the curriculum for five to six years. This teaching style involves two–or possibly more–teachers from different education departments to teach a single class together. It’s become a well-liked practice introduced in BSM classrooms, and it continues to grow as more classes adapt to a duo-teaching approach.
Social studies teacher and senior class advisor Megan Kern, and English teacher Anne Marie Dominguez are two team teachers within the BSM curriculum. The tag team teaches a class called American Studies. It’s a semester long class that blends American history and the exposure to American history novels. “It’s been five or six years we have been teaching it together. We don’t even know how many years exactly because we’ve had so much fun together; time flies when you’re having fun,” English teacher Anne Marie Dominguez said.
This particular class is a great example of how not just one, but two teachers can make an impact on a student’s learning. In the American Studies class, it’s rare that both teachers in front of the class together. If one teacher is teaching a lesson, the other is passively involved in the lesson; although it may seem like one has taken over the stage, both teachers are still a part of the lecture and often interject with connections and pointers to provide a more well-rounded lesson. “It’s a new fresh set of eyes for assessing or holding a discussion, whatever the method of interaction is,” Kern said. “They get to see us switch roles and make connections. Team teaching with Megan is probably the best thing I’ve experienced as a professional that has made me a better, more effective teacher,” Dominguez said.
Although it may seem less traditional to have two teachers in front of a classroom, it’s common to have numerous teachers in other departments, such as in the music department. Teachers Nancy Stockhaus and Adam Petroski are the choir directors for the high school and junior high, and they share musical direction for the senior high as well. Having the privilege to teach with a partner for more than twenty years, Stockhaus has learned plenty about the impact of having two teachers in front of the room. “I’ve been really lucky because throughout my teaching career I’ve been able to work with people I really like. You really just get in a rhythm with a person,” Stockhaus said.
Stockhaus not only explains that collaborative teaching is convenient but critical in an environment of music. Students are absorbing more from the classroom when it’s coming from two teachers and there’s more feedback. Petroski, coming to BSM from a school where he was the only teacher for all the choir classes, says team teaching with Stockhaus is much easier. “This class isn’t like a core subject like math or science, students choose to sing in the choir. That’s why it’s important for us to be excited about it and make the class fun, and teaching with Mrs. Stockhaus makes making the class more enjoyable for all the kids because together we create that positive energy,” Petroski said