First of all, I’m not so proud to share that I have not started running, nor have I made much progress in finding any balance in my life. But I did walk outside and buy myself a new pair of earrings. Baby steps, I tell you, baby steps.
Anyway, did you know that 1873, a man named Henry Hatch of McHenry County, Ill., invented the very first silo? He built it out of wood and stored grains inside of it. He was probably a very forward-thinking man.
I saw my very first silo when I moved to Michigan for college. After being told farmers kept grain inside of them to feed their animals, I could not figure out how they filled those things up. I mean, if you put the grains in through a little window, all the grain already in there would just spill out! Little did I know that silos require some fancy engineering . . . on the inside.
My grad program is built on the idea of co-teaching. In the past year and a half it’s been drilled into my head that silos are bad news and that no teacher should operate in silo fashion. Everyone knows this, but when you’ve been trained to operate as a co-planner, co-teacher, and co-assessor, being the sole teacher-of-record in a self-contained class where I have no team whatsoever is quite hard.
Boy, do I miss last year, when I and the kindergarten teacher I worked with bounced ideas off of each other all afternoon long and practiced co-teaching to a point that we didn’t even have to verbalize what we needed the other person to do. For sure, in the beginning I was a little hesitant and I definitely agree with Theresa that too much of a good thing can be, well, a bad thing. But once my co-teacher and I got going, there was no stopping us.
Nowadays there are rare occasions when my aides and I bounce ideas off of each other, but most of the time, I’m on my own. And after all my kids go home, I sit at my desk and plan all by my lonesome.
I guess if my student teaching experience last year had been a “normal” one, I wouldn’t know the difference. But to have been trained as a co-teacher and now not have the opportunities to use those skills—well, it’s sad. This is especially true when I hear stories of teachers who are being forced to co-teach for the very first time and are so frustrated all they want to do is stomp back to their silos.
This is not to say I don’t see benefits in working alone. Stuff certainly gets done faster, but I think I so enjoyed co-teaching because, in the end, our kids benefited so much from having both of us in the room.
Now if only I can figure out a way to co-teach in my self-contained class . . . that is, if only I could put on a magic cape and be two people at the same time . . . hmmm. . . .