Team teaching situations can be a complete joy or a total nightmare depending on the chemistry between the parties involved.
I often praise my co-teacher Lauren with whom I have taught elementary school for the past seven years. She is a beautiful woman - inside and out - and my words could never do justice to the admiration I have for her as an educator and as a person.
With all the love for Lauren spread across the posts I have totally ignored my other co-teacher, Cayne, who is also a beautiful person, inside and out. He just turned 32 (Happy Birthday!) has a fantastic wife and daughter and will have his doctorate within a year.
Cayne and I have been teaching together at Fordham University as part of the Hello Friend/Ennis William Cosby Certificate program for Young Readers at Risk (that's a mouthful) for the past four years.
Eleven years ago I was asked to teach a class at Hunter College in their Deaf Education program. I turned it down because I was terrified by the thought of teaching adults. I did not have the confidence or the background at the time to accept the offer. I thought for sure that it was the one and only time I would ever be offered a teaching position at a college, but I was wrong.
When the opportunity presented itself again at Fordham I accepted - actually the way it was offered by Dr. Uhry made it clear that saying no was not really an option. However, I was still genuinely nervous.
On the first day of class I took Cayne's lead. I watched how he was totally at ease, how he leisurely walked around the room while he taught, how he made jokes and laughed and good-naturedly went with the flow. I thought "I can do this".
And I have enjoyed it. I already miss the fact that next summer we won't be teaching together during Fordham's Annual Summer Literacy Institute. The next class I teach at the college level will probably be one that I will teach solo. I am back to feeling nervous and apprehensive. How will I be without a partner to bounce off of or to finish my sentences when I talk myself into a corner?
My guess is I will be okay. I have had a good role model.
Thank you Cayne for teaching me how to be a better teacher. For bringing in humor mixed with 'smarts'. For taking care of all the technical aspects of setting up our PowerPoint presentations. For making me chill out when I get too anal and detail oriented.
And above all else, thanks for your friendship.