Dealing with the consequences of a shared class doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are my tips:
What if the students complain about the other teacher?
Do. Not. Engage. Don’t bite. Ever. What is more interesting than learning about the circulation system? Creating a drama between your teachers and manufacturing the perfect excuse for not doing any work. This pupil strategy won’t work if the teacher won’t engage; never let them play you off against the other.
What happens with marking?
Decide at the beginning of the unit who is marking the assessment, and who is going to be entering data into the system. When you make these decisions, it is best to take into account all of the split classes you have to deal with, and the total number of class assessments that you will be responsible for. It is neither wise, nor practical, to expect non-specialists to mark accurately without some serious guidance. Either provide support and training, or heads of department should be splitting up the marking among the teachers with paid responsibility for the relevant subjects or key stages. Some teachers who I spoke to reported wildly inaccurate marking only being picked up months into the second term, and several classes having all assessments re-marked. This kind of disorganisation can be avoided by keeping on top of the problem early on.
When do we share the books?
Wherever possible, topics should be divided, and separate books issued – sharing books is a messy affair. It leads to unnecessary problems when collecting in books for marking, and when deciphering what work was done for which teacher, and when locating homework and assessments. All of this extra faff adds on to marking time, and it is all utterly avoidable.
When do we plan the work?
It is only fair that pre-planned lessons are given to the non-specialist, but, equally, planning in tandem is essential to ensure that the specialist teacher isn’t being overburdened. At key stage 3, this is quite straightforward, but for the more complex topics at GCSE, you need to start either assigning units of work to staff with TLRs to design for non-specialists or using the budget to buy them in.