Job sharing is a role within a school that is like no other. Teaching part-time is a wonderful opportunity to be a part of school life, but also allows for time to focus on other areas outside of work.
Everyone’s reasons for taking on a job share vary, whether it be for health reasons, parenting duties, running a business, caring for elderly parents etc. Whatever the reason is for you, it is valid, and you must remember that you chose this style of work in order to best suit your life outside of school.
We spoke to some teachers who are all very experienced when it comes to sharing a job and classroom with a colleague. For this reason, we asked them to share their best advice when taking on a job share role. This is what they told us:
“Have clear roles and responsibilities and an easy way to communicate. I have used google doc or good old-fashioned book. Make sure the workload is fair, especially when it comes time to mark assessments and writing reports. Timetable subjects for set days so everything gets covered. Have clear expectations of behaviour and rewards and consequences that are consistent between the two of you. Kids can tell when you are not being as consistent as your partner.” Sarah
“Communication is important, however, you don’t need to over-communicate. When you are talking or leaving notes, share the good and the bad. Don’t just focus on the things going wrong. Job sharing is all about give and take – work as a team” Jann
“Firstly, planning ahead of time and timetable to each other’s strengths where possible. Secondly, establishing your shared view of classroom management and expectations of students and parents, including how you deal with situations and have meetings etc. Thirdly, handover! Making sure this is done thoroughly at the end of your work week so you aren’t ‘caught out’ by not knowing what incidents or things that have occurred. Present a joint front, parents want to know that both teachers know their kids. Overall, I loved job-sharing and it changed my perspective especially being a parent now as I like the idea of two teachers, four sets of eyes on my child as children can be different from teacher to teacher” Yasmin
“Remember to fill your buddy in on things that have occurred with students…. bigger playground incidents, big social issues, parent communication that has occurred as well. Parents then feel secure with the job share too. Keep the lines of communication open, I am constantly communicating with my buddy but at the same time, it’s important to be able to let go and pull back. Remember it is part-time work otherwise you can be consumed by school. Finally, trust, appreciate and support each other” Lyn
“One piece of advice I would give for a person starting a job share would be to have a shared online daybook. This is where you link the class time table, programs, roll call, reward system and have a teacher only communication section. My grade partner and I plan each other’s first day of the week. For example: my last day of the working week is Friday, so I leave a Monday day plan with all work ready to go and linked to the online daybook so that my job share teacher can walk in on Monday and know exactly what lessons the class is up to in every KLA. She does the same for me. This keeps us organised and happy and the students enjoy the consistency” Belinda
“Make sure you work with someone who is like-minded so you are on the same page. It is also important that you are happy to have each other’s back when juggling work, motherhood and/or life” Louise
“Learn to let go of the little things and trust in your partner. It can be hard when you are not in control of everything, especially if you have come from being a full-time teacher. Don’t sweat the small stuff! Also, take the time to set up an organised workspace for you and your partner. Include supplies in labeled drawers and tubs, it will save time in the long run and save you time looking for things.” Elise C
“Being transparent and making it clear to parents you are both a team while dispelling the myth that it’s unorganised or that you know ‘less’ about their child with two teaches is key. My partner and I make a big act to the kids saying ‘Mrs *** called me last night and told me EVERYTHING!!!!’ They know they can’t get away with anything or play us off against each other. Also, play to your strengths – it’s all about making the job as smooth and stress-free as possible” Rachel
“Respect your job share partner and their suggestions/ideas and teaching experience. Be flexible to take on ideas even if they are not how you would have done it. Lots of compromise!!!” Sarah Q
“Make a digital day plan that is spread out over the week. My partner and I have reworked one from a previous job share. At the top of each day, we have a notes and a ‘to do’ section. We highlight important things like special days, meeting with parents, follow up things and notes to each other. The daybook (google doc) is then shared with everyone that works with us – Intervention teachers and LSO’s so they can see what to expect when they come into work in our classroom. Attached to the daybook is a separate link that only my partner and I can see that have the web addresses and passwords for all the common websites we use. The main thing for a successful job share is to communicate, communicate, communicate. We always let each other know about parent queries or concerns about our students.” Vy
“Never undermine the other in front of the students. Go to your partner if you disagree with something. Always back each other up. Also, look at google classroom for team planning. Use each other’s strengths and experience to work in your favour.” Elise M
Above all, have fun! Teaching is a wonderful job and you get the unique experience of being able to share it with someone else.
If you are looking for more strategies and advice for job share teachers, you might want to check out our Job Share Guide. It is full of useful checklists, information and resources to help you get started and save time!
What to read next…