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 floorI 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 morningI 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 possibleWe 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 jobWhen 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!