Co-Teaching Tips: Secret Code Words!
Top Secret: Kids know everything. But sometimes it’s better if they don’t.
When co-teaching, it’s absolutely necessary to communicate- But not always in front of the children. Try creating both code word(s) and non-verbal cue(s) with each other in the classroom so you can communicate and not make it obvious to the kids. For example, one of my co-teachers and I usually had certain students that we sometimes couldn’t deal with (or were worse at dealing with them than the other) – so we would use phrase “I need you to get the gradebook” to signal to the other that they needed to address a certain child. This makes both co-teachers lives easier and helps each other out, without letting the kids know what’s happening. Additionally, if one of us had to run out of the classroom as an emergency, we would just grab our keys and shake them, so the other knew we were quickly stepping out, without having to make a verbal announcement to the whole class.
Creating secret code words is an important bonding experience for you and your co-teacher. And fun. For example, “Sombrero”- this was used with one of my co-teachers when we shouldn’t have been speaking up in meetings. Things can get pretty hairy sometimes working in a school, so to help bring the other off the ledge, we would tell the other to “Put on your sombrero” as a code phrase for “Stop talking and relax- it’s not worth it.” It became an inside joke and helped change the mood. In the long run communication will improve using code words and signals, but it also just lightens things up…something we could all use once in awhile.
Code Words are best when:
-Someone is having a bad day.
-There is an emergency situation and it’s better if the kids don’t know.
-Talking about a certain child or behavior that would be inappropriate for the other kids to know.
-There are emotions getting involved that need to be curbed.
-When you just need to make your job a little more enjoyable.