Two can work at this game

5th November 2004 at 00:00
If the thought of having your own class filled you with dread, then imagine having to share it with someone you haven't even met - but that's what we dealt with when we agreed to do our induction year as a job-share.

Working out the logistics of team teaching wasn't hard - once we agreed to lead numeracy and literacy on alternate weeks (it means less planning) and to alternate two afternoons a week non-contact time so that we can both teach all the subjects (it's more time than other NQTs get).

Teaching a real class together - which we do sometimes - without dominating or taking a back seat is harder. Initially, it felt like a continual observation but it's worked out well for us - we're like-minded, with similar standards of discipline and pupil expectations. To do this with somebody who had a different perspective would have been much more challenging.

It took some time to get used to referring to the class as "ours", but we were more adaptable when we were feeling knackered and wanted the other to lead a joint lesson.

Job-sharing does have its drawbacks (every message has to be passed on, every meeting with parents shared, every decision agreed) but we wouldn't be without each other. We share the responsibility for the class and the burden of paperwork - and generally have someone on our side, which is a real luxury.

Sharing a job is a great arrangement for NQTs - you're not set in your ways and the extra time is useful. But more experienced teachers should try it too. We would definitely recommend it.

By the end of the year, we'll probably be ready and eager to take on the full burden of our own classes. In the meantime, though, this is NQT heaven.

Rhianna Bridges and Jennifer Houghton team-teach in Year 1 at Ridge Meadow primary school, Chatham, Medway

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