Administrators are a key player in the sustainability of a co-teaching model (Murawksi, 2009, 2010; Scruggs, Mastropieri & McDuffie, 2007; Walther-Thomas, 1997). Not only do co-teachers have to be supportive of the model, but administrators also need to be supportive of and encouraging of the model. Administrators have the power to oversee the more difficult aspects of a co-teaching relationship such as costs and planning time (Friend and Reising, 1993).
Costs and scheduling are important concerns for administrators when considering a co-teaching model. From Friend and Reising (1993), as well as the addition of our own logic, “it is expensive for two qualified professionals to share a group of students not much larger than the group the classroom teacher taught alone” (Resources, para. 1). Because of the potential costs, it is necessary to focus research efforts on the outcomes for co-teaching classrooms as well as the current costs associated with special education in school systems. Such empirical evidence will help districts make informed decision regarding the financial feasibility of such models.
Time for co-planning is also paramount to the success of a co-teaching environment (Murawski, 2010; Scruggs, Mastropieri & McDuffie, 2007). As emphasized in Murawski’s definition of co-teaching, co-planning is essential so that both teachers are included throughout the educational process. Administrators who are supportive of the co-teaching model can help co-teachers develop schedules so that co-planning can occur, which will help the relationship to be successful for both teachers and students.
Administrators are a hugely important part of the co-teaching relationship. It is important for administrators to know just as much about the model as their teachers who are in the classroom implementing it.