Semi-Departmentalized Teaching

Through my eight years of teaching, I have encountered several different teaching situations. Classroom set-ups and teaching styles vary greatly from room to room and teacher to teacher. However, the class schedule and subjects taught also come with variety.

My first four years of teaching, I taught in a semi-departmentalized setting. This is the name that I labeled it. I have never heard anyone use the term before but it seems to fit nicely. I say semi-departmentalized because there were only two teachers and we shared the subjects that were to be taught. To some extent we were departmentalized because we changed groups of students during the day. However, there was not a department for each subject to be taught.

I taught both math and science to each homeroom class of students. My partner taught both English and history. We each taught reading to our own homeroom class. The set-up had both its pros and cons.

With only two teachers involved and two groups of students, it was fairly easy to have a personal relationship with all of the students. Teachers seeing five to six groups of students daily often do not have the opportunity to get to know all of their students.

I preferred the method to being self-contained because fewer subjects had to be taught. I could put more focus into the three subjects that I was teaching rather than having to split my time between five subjects.

In the teaching situation described above, the two teachers must work very closely together. It is important for the two teachers to share a common agreement when discipline, academic goals, and educational values are concerned. Because there are two teachers working together with the same students, the teachers will need to plan trips and special events for the entire group. If the two teachers do not share a common interest in teaching styles, many conflicts can occur.

Many small schools share this semi-departmentalized plan in intermediate and middle grades. There are often not enough teachers or students to have one teacher per subject. Therefore, the teachers teach more than one subject and usually divide the core curriculum.

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