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!

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