The purpose of this study was to explore the tensions that existed between my co-teaching partner and me while working together during the last four years. Additionally, I studied how my partner, the special educator, and I, the general educator, negotiated the tensions that came up during our collaboration. Using a narrative approach to share our stories about our teaching, I investigated how we worked together and contributed to our co-teaching relationship. I analyzed the stories and storylines that we shared using a theoretical lens called positioning. Positioning theory looks at how people interact with each other and the positions that they take up and give away. Positioning helped me to understand better how we were negotiating the tensions we were experiencing while co-teaching together. The findings suggested that the tensions that existed between us stemmed from our confusion about our roles and our lack of planning. It was also strained because of the ways in which the institution positioned us. Because we were confused about our roles and were not planning, our co-teaching was not as excellent as it could have been. Both of us negotiated our tensions by (a) remaining positive about our relationship, and (b) continuing to value teaching together even though there were tensions in our partnership. Our "friendship" persisted even after professional tensions came up and, many times, in spite of the tensions. In conclusion, this study revealed that my co-teaching partner and I needed more training about how to be co-teachers so that we could negotiate the tensions that came up. We did not plan regularly and did not understand how our roles co-existed because we had no training about how these things would help us in our relationship. This study also reveals that co-teachers need to be more committed to co-teaching. Despite our lack of training and preparation, we remained positive about our relationship and this is the reason why our partnership endured.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Teacher Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





Co-teaching, Team Teaching, Positioning Theory