Building a strong relationship between an intervention teacher and classroom teacher can make the difference between student success and disaster. Both teachers are pivotal to the student’s success in and out of the classroom. While the roles are different, they work hand in hand to provide targeted instruction to insure success of the student. Here are tips for a strong relationship between an interventionist and a classroom teacher.
Tips for the Classroom Teacher:
- Provide the interventionist with specific gaps in learning that you have observed in the classroom. Detailed diagnostic assessments help the interventionist to know exactly what skills he/she needs to target. Diagnostic assessments such as spelling or phonics inventories are especially helpful. I personally prefer Words Their Way spelling inventories (Even if you don’t use Words Their Way programs.)
- Meet weekly in person to build a relationship. Seeing the interventionist face to face is better than an email. An intervention position can be an isolating position at times. Seeing a friendly or smiling face really helps him/her feel included and supported.
- If you notice any change in the student’s behavior or attitude towards learning, let the interventionist know ASAP. They need to be aware even though they don’t always notice the same behaviors due to a smaller group they work with.
- Running records or additional assessment data can be helpful for the interventionist, but don’t send him/her every single piece of data. It is overwhelming for the interventionist to get ALL the data you have collected. Some of the data is not relevant to the targeted skill of focus. For example, if a child is in RTI for phonics, a fluency inventory report is not something the interventionist needs to see.
- Stay positive! Any research-based program that is being used requires time. Most programs require 12-14 weeks before progress is documented. This can seem like an eternity when you want instant results for the classroom.
- Remember you are a standards based classroom. You focus on it all while the interventionist only focuses on specific skills. You might not see a lot of growth looking at the big picture, but if you focus in and look only at the targeted skill it might change your mind.
- Don’t treat intervention time as optional. Respect the interventionist’s job by honoring the time that the student is supposed to go. Try to avoid canceling or keeping the child from attending. You are the one who decided the child needed to be in tiers, so let them receive the interventions that they need.
- Benchmark results are IMPORTANT. Be sure anytime that you complete benchmark assessments that the interventionist receives a copy.
- Stay on the same team! You are both working on the common goal of overall success of the student. Don’t be a glory hog and talk about all the progress you helped the child achieve. Be a team player and include the interventionist in the glory. Especially when discussing progress with the parent, include the support and help they received from the intervention teacher.
Tips for the Intervention Teacher:
- Stay focused on the targeted skill that the classroom teacher provided. It is not your job to focus on as many different skills as you can.
- Schedule and plan data team meetings with the classroom teacher once a month or more often if necessary. It is your job to check in with the classroom teacher and let them know of the progress or lack of progress. Plan a sit down meeting with them once a month for 10-15 minutes. It doesn’t have to be long, but share with them the progress monitoring charts and data trends that you see. Allow time for them to share their observations as well.
- Any changes or habits that the child shows in your classroom needs to be shared with the classroom teacher ASAP. An email is a great way to share observations that need to be noted. For example, I had a child who developed a severe stutter while reading in small groups. It was something that the classroom teacher had not noticed yet, but then became more aware of it. As a small group teacher, you may notice things quicker than the classroom teacher simply due the amount of students you have at a time. Take advantage of this!
- Remember you are a skills based classroom and not a standards based classroom. If you are working on phonics with a fifth grader, no one expects you to be reading a grade level novel with the child. Focus on the targeted skill at all times and forget about grade level expectations.
- Before school, after school, lunchtime, and hallway passings are important times for you to socialize. Get to know other teachers and try your best to connect with others during this time. The intervention room can be lonely if you don’t make friendships. You don’t have a team to share the same schedule with so make the most of your downtime.
- Make the most of your time with your students. Maximize your schedule so there is NO downtime. The worst thing for a classroom teacher is to think that they are going to interventions to sit and read the entire time or play on a computer. Make it fun, but also make it relevant and time worthy.
- Stay on the same team! The relationship you have with the classroom teacher is SO important. The work you are doing with the student will hopefully affect classroom performance. If your opinion on growth is different from the classroom teacher, respectfully voice your opinion, but show data evidence. My favorite saying is “Data doesn’t lie.” If you can chart it, no one can argue with it!
Both positions are SO important and necessary for student achievement and working together for the best of the student! Do you work as a classroom teacher or support staff? Comment below! I would love to hear from you!
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