On warm days in August, we probably think that teachers are grabbing last-minute opportunities for summer fun and vacation time. Instead, nearly 100 teachers and future teachers gathered to learn about co-teaching from TeachOregon PAC members. Three co-teaching workshops were held for Cooperating Teachers and their Teacher Candidates (student teachers). The first was held Thursday morning, August 25 in Newberg for co-teachers in that school district. The second was held that afternoon in Woodburn for co-teachers in Woodburn, Tillamook and Sheridan School Districts. On Friday, the third workshop was held in Sherwood for co-teachers in Sherwood, Tigard/Tualatin, Beaverton, and Portland Public School Districts.
The workshops were designed with three goals in mind; to create an opportunity for Cooperating Teachers and their Teacher Candidates to get to know each other, to provide an introduction to the co-teaching model, and to provide an opportunity for co-teaching teams to begin planning lessons, strategies, and co-teaching practices. The workshops were planned and facilitated collaboratively by Pacific and George Fox University faculty, along with TeachOregon representatives from Newberg, Woodburn, Tillamook, and Sherwood School districts.
At the TeachOregon PAC, we feel strongly that co-teaching is the most effective way for aspiring teachers to gain the confidence, competence, skills, and experience necessary to enter the teaching workforce and to be a successful teacher. Co-teaching has been a buzz word in Oregon and across the nation for some time; at TeachOregon, co-teaching has become the way Cooperating Teachers and Teacher Candidates engage in clinical practice.
Teachers engaged in the workshops reported that conversations that began in the workshops continued long after they left. One group from Tillamook embraced the opportunity to continue collaborating during the two-hour drive home, having extended conversations about co-teaching and their plans for the year. Participants expressed appreciation for the opportunity to plan and learn with their co-teachers before students arrive and school begins. They also appreciated getting to know one another, what their similarities are, and what their differences are.
These co-teaching workshops were not meant to be a one-stop, half-day of professional development. Rather, these co-teaching teams will continue to be supported throughout this school year. TeachOregon PAC university faculty and school district reps will follow up with two additional workshops as well as numerous site visits and observations. We all continue to learn and grow, and we are encouraged and excited as we “Walk the Talk” of co-teaching!