Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Traveling Teacher's Survival Guide

Like many, I am a traveling teacher.  And let's just be honest.  It sucks.  Nothing is more annoying than having to be in multiple buildings and/or classrooms in one day.  However, I'm a firm believer that life is about as difficult as you decide it is, so I have come up with some pointers to try and make life a little easier when it comes to traveling.

1. Get a nice, big computer bag

Bonus points if it has wheels.  This is my bag.  It is technically a travel laptop bag, but I absolutely adore it.  The front small pocket I can use for all of my pens/pencils/tiny things.  The front big pocket is perfectly sized for my laptop.  The big pocket (which takes up a little over half the bag) is where EVERYTHING else goes.  All of my folders/papers that I need on any given day.  Stuff to be graded...stuff to be handed back... seating charts, lesson plan book, textbooks.  You name it, it's likely there.


As a teacher, regardless of how many locations you are at, it is important to be organized.  It is even more important as a traveling teacher.  I use my folder system to keep papers organized in each classroom as well as in my own personal bag.

3. Stay a day ahead schedule

One "luxury" I don't have is planning the next day the night before. While this isn't a smart thing to do anyway, it's impossible for me.  My "home base" school is the school I teach at the second half of the day.  I do most of my prep work there and keep about 90% of my resources and things there.  This means that I cannot leave school until my next day is planned in case I need to bring something with me to school one.  On the days I do forget something at school two, I need to run there in the morning before school starts which is about 15 minutes out of my way (round trip).

4. Find a spot that's YOURS

Part of being a traveling teacher also means you likely share a classroom with another teacher or two.  Be sure to designate a part of the room (even if it's just one bulletin board or spot on the wall) that holds the posters and decorations for your class.  Students will know where to look when looking for your resources rather than trying to find it in a sea of other random posters.  The same goes for the desk in the classroom.  Be sure to designate a few drawers that are just yours as well as drawers that are communal (anything that's in them is fair game).

5. Communicate

If you are in the predicament of sharing a room with other teachers, be sure to communicate with them.  Let them know which things of yours (that are always in the room) that you are willing to share.  Have a classroom set of markers that you want to only be used by your students? Let the other teacher(s) know.  Planning a fun party day and things might get a little messy?  Give the other teacher(s) a heads up.  They will appreciate it.  Forgot something in the room and don't want it getting lost/stolen/ruined?  Let that teacher know and ask if he/she can put it in a desk drawer for you.

Being a traveling teacher is a tough job.  But with the right "system" it can go very smoothly and not feel like a burden at all.

Have any other pointers?  Feel free to share them in the comments!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Using Memes to Illustrate Classroom Procedure

I discussed in a previous post the importance of waiting a day or two to do classroom procedures because students are often bored with hearing a different rendition of more or less the same rules several times in one day.  I also discussed the importance of making a good lasting first impression with your students.  Why not kill two birds with one stone and have fun with teaching about your classroom policies?  It is a surefire way to help students remember them.

I decided to generate a bunch of memes and make a PowerPoint of them.  I'm hoping it is a hit!  I find them very amusing (but then again I get amused very easily), so hopefully my students do as well.

Want a ready-to-go set for yourself?  I have them HERE in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Day of School

Well, it is that time again.  Summer is winding down.  We are exchanging swimsuits for sweaters.  Fall is nearly here which always means the start of school.

They always say a first impression lasts forever, and that cannot be overstated when referencing the beginning of school either. 

Depending on what you teach, most (if not all) of your classes will consist of students you have never met before.  These students may or may not have heard about you already.  But it is crucial to establish a good rapport with your students because they will carry their first impression of you with them for the rest of the school year.  This impression will play a huge role in how they react to you throughout the year.

Most teachers spend the first day or two taking about rules, syllabi, etc.  I always save that for at least day two, if not later (not too much later.. we only have so much time, right?).  What a breath of fresh air it will be when they enter your classroom and DON'T have to go through another syllabus (similar to the past 5 classes of the day)!  I find that waiting until day two or later, two things are accomplished.  Firstly, you give them a break from the boring day of rules and whatnot.  Secondly, when you do go over your rules and syllabus, they are much more likely to absorb it, rather than just lumping it in with all of the other classes.

I use my first day to just get to know the students and have some fun.  They each get to pick their French name and then learn how to introduce themselves.  Then, they get to explore the classroom (I always do a scavenger hunt) to figure out how to use their resources around them.  For some of my upper level students, I have them write on a slip of paper what they did over the summer (passe compose of course!) and then I draw them from a hat and students must guess who did what. Homework that night for the French 1s is to come up with three questions they want to know about me.  The following day, we go through them (and play a game with them).  I find that telling the students everything they want to know about me not only shows them that I have more of an identity than just a teacher, but also opens them up to being willing to ask questions later.  As long as the question (or the response) is school appropriate, I tell them to ask me anything!

By lightening up those first few days, students are eased into your classroom setting and your first impression is generally a good one.  That impression can last you throughout the year to hopefully have a more successful year and for them to be more receptive of you as a teacher and your authority.

Photo from:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

TPT Back to School Sale

It's back to school time!

Many Teachers Pay Teachers sellers (including myself!) are discounting their stores for this major TPT sale.  This sale runs from August 4th to 5th (this coming Monday and Tuesday).

My entire store is discounted by 20%, so be sure to go and purchase some back to school essentials!  You can also use discount code BTS14 for an additional 10% off any purchases (not just from me)!

As always, my offer of a FREE gift with a $25 purchase is still good.

Long story short:
Make a $25 purchase from my store and leave me feedback on at least ONE item (feedback makes me a better seller and product maker) and I will share access with you on my ENTIRE Google shared drive.  This means you will have access to every resource that has ever been shared with me as well as every resource I have ever made and ever will make.  You don't want to miss this deal!  I'm also very organized, so you can find all of the files you will need quite easily!

If you choose to take advantage of this offer, make sure to fill out THIS FORM so I know what e-mail address to share the folder with.

So head on down to TPT and stock up on all of those back to school essentials!  Now is the time to do it as the discounts are only good for 48 hours.