Should I be worried about teachers job sharing in my child’s class?
Have you just found out that your child will be in a classroom with teachers job sharing this year?
The education system provides a lot of options for how staff members, particularly teachers, would like to structure their time at school. This may be for reasons to do with family, having young children, wanting to pursue further study for promotion or because they are moving towards the end of their career. Job sharing in classrooms are becoming a very common practice and can provide a lot of positive outcomes for your child.
Job sharing is, at its core, two teachers sharing one contract. The split may be even (0.5 to 0.5) or more one-sided (0.6 to 0.4). Responsibilities, yard duties and planning time will all be organised into split that the teachers will work out with administration. These are decisions that are made carefully that always have the best interests of the students at heart.
What are the benefits of teachers job sharing?
Teachers who job share have to make sure they communicate very clearly with each other. This means that very accurate records and observations are kept, that work is marked succinctly and carefully filed and that the teachers meet often to discuss concerns and strategies. If you, as a parent, have any questions about your child’s progress you can be sure that the answer will be well-documented and readily available.
Teachers who job share present a wide range of learning experiences to your child. Your child will have access to two professional, dedicated adults who will each bring their individual ‘spin’ to the lessons. If one teacher is quite artistic, the other might be more methodical. This has the capacity to appeal to a wider range of learners. Variety is the spice of life!
Primary school teachers who job share prepare their students for high school. In high school, your child will have a different teacher per subject. This allows them to develop resilience and communication skills as the range of adults they are working with is widened. Children are exposed to different personalities, behaviour management strategies and ways of problem-solving.
What are the drawbacks of teachers job sharing?
Whilst there are many benefits for both the teachers and the students of teachers job sharing, there can be some drawbacks depending on how the job share is managed. As said above, the teachers will need to communicate effectively with each other as well as with parents and students. If your child seems confused about what is happening, then speak to the teachers to gain clarity.
If this is the first time your primary school aged child has experienced teachers job sharing in their classroom, explain to them what that means and what to expect. Ensure they understand which days they will have each teacher to help them transition.
Some teachers job sharing will change their arrangements part way through the year and if your child prefers things that are constant and certain, this may be difficult for them. Again, explain what is happening (including the benefits of job sharing) and talk to them about what may be troubling them. Reassure them that the school and the teachers involved will be doing their utmost to maintain stability in the classroom.
What might change?
You might notice changes in:
• The structure of parent-teacher interviews
• Who you communicate what issue to and how (You might email different teachers about different issues or CC both of them into every communication)
• The schedule of lesson content may alter as each teacher plays to their own strengths
Where can I find out more?
If you have questions about what job share will look like for your child, your first port of call are the teachers themselves. If you have more questions or concerns contact your Deputy Principal, Principal or relevant Head of Teaching and Learning. Schools do not enter lightly into job-sharing decisions so it is more than likely that all of your concerns will be easily and calmly addressed.
One more thing…
You might need to get two teacher Christmas gifts instead of one!
Louise Lavery is a content writer and the online content manager for Families Magazine. Louise taught senior English for over ten years with a focus on the promotion of literacy development in adolescents who have processing and behavioural difficulties. In her “spare” time she is a freelance writer, a young adult novelist and chief wrangler of the world’s cheekiest three-year-old boy.