Kristin and I have been teaching together for 10 years. This seems to be a unique situation in education today; I know it is in our district. Special education teachers move around as much as the students do, which makes developing a solid co-teaching relationship very difficult. This is how I would break it down: Co-teaching is a bit like a marriage. In the beginning you are dating, you want to get along, please each other, show off what you bring to the table and are very careful with the others feelings. Then you get serious, an exclusive relationship. You are more comfortable, your personal philosophies become stronger and maybe you disagree a little more. Debate is important. Then maybe you have a rough patch because after all, we are teachers and therefore total control freaks! (This is my personal observation, of course) But in the end you realize how much better your classroom is because you are both there. You are now married, Congrats! You realize its okay to say "that lesson really stunk today" and not feel like a failure (burning dinner). After all, you have a partner to help make it better tomorrow.
I have a partner to bounce my ideas off. I have a partner to help me visualize & create my off the wall, middle of the night ideas. I have a partner to make those ideas better! I have a partner to fill in my blanks and balance my weaknesses. AND I have a partner that allows me to run to the restroom whenever necessary. (Super important while I was pregnant!)
My advice to a new team....open up, get personal and be honest. Share the workload and balance your strengths. Discuss everything and your roles will fall into place. It takes time to get there and I hope you all have that opportunity. Remember, your unique talents are what will make your team great. You can still have your own ideas and opinions and they don't always have to be the same.
Any questions about co-teaching? We have been through a lot and would love to share our experiences. (DM)