When I was doing my PGCE training many moons ago, my tutor used to salivate over the concept of team teaching. We were taken to a demonstration lesson in a local school and I have to say I was impressed.
Since that time I have never been in a school where this was practised. However, it has always remained an idea that has stuck with me.
I have never felt that teachers are naturally programmed to work alone. Indeed the classroom isolation necessitated by what I see as an artificial construct of separate subject disciplines is one of the key factors that lead to teacher depression, burnout and disaffection. I wonder how many good colleagues have been lost to the profession because of this. In my own journey, I think it was a major factor in my decision to quit secondary teaching.
How can it be right that most of my generation of teachers have spent the majority of their classroom lives in splendid isolation whilst encouraging the pupils we teach to work in pairs, groups, conduct peer assessment and aspire to assimilate all the attributes of good team players?
Fortunately, the internet has facilitated an explosion in the sharing of ideas amongst peoples sharing a common interest, teachers especially. No-one need now feel isolated and opportunities are growing to attend online 'meetings', Teachmeets and the like, where we can connect to amazing colleagues across the curriculum with inspirational ideas. I wonder how long it will be before this new hub of inter-disciplinary connections begins to filter much more strongly back into the organisational structures of our schools?
As I work in primary schools now where a cross curricular approach is the norm, and as I explore the obvious links language learning has with other subject areas at KS3 such as music and drama, I was wondering whether there are schools out there who are actively pursuing the concept of team teaching across different subjects. If there are, please contact me to let me know.
I might even be tempted to return to the secondary sector ... now there is a scary thought to be resisted!