My school is packed to the brim — there is never an empty room in the building. When one teacher is on prep, their classroom is being used by a traveling teacher. Being a traveling teacher the first two years of my career, I empathize with others in the same position. Here are a few tips that I learned that made my life much easier every day:
A pen drive is your best friend. At my school, teachers are required to post the objectives on the board for the day. Also, a posted schedule helps me keep on track and the students organized. After a few weeks of writing and re-writing the schedule on the whiteboard at the beginning of the hour, I learned that digital is the way to go.I now keep all important documents saved on one pen drive. With a pen drive, I can easily pop in the drive and I’m all set to go!
Use a cart if your classes are all on the same floor. I am fortunate enough to have been given a cart by a previous traveling teacher. Before that I kept all of my belongings in my teacher “man-purse.” I would enter the classroom, pull everything out of the bag, organize it on the desk and finally be ready to start the day. With my cart, I can have everything already organized by class and over time students learn where to find what they need on any given day.
Third: Mentally run through your day in the morning. I create a mental checklist each day to make sure that I have all the supplies I need before students begin entering the classroom. Once the day begins there is no stopping time — if I forgot to put the correct copies on the cart, I’m out of luck. If I need anything that doesn’t fit in the cart, such as a globe, I make sure to place the items in the correct classroom before school starts. My mental checklist keeps me prepared 95% of the time. Unfortunately, nobody is perfect and I am forgetful occasionally. That’s why #4 is so important!
Respect other staff members and help them as much as possible. We are very fortunate in our school to have a lot of paraprofessionals in the classroom to help. I try my hardest to always respect their role in the classroom and not take advantage of them. They are not there to make me copies or run my errands. I believe that respecting them as equals is greatly appreciated. Occasionally if I do need some extra help grabbing something I missed in another classroom, they are always happy to help me out.
Appreciate your job. When the day is not going well and your stress level is intense due to the problems that come along with not having your own classroom, take a deep breath. Hopefully traveling is temporary and once you get some more experience there will be a beautiful classroom to call your own! The light at the end of the tunnel may be attainable for me next year as we are moving into a new school and I could have my own room. Wish me luck!
Would love to hear any tips or ideas from other traveling teachers in the comments below!