The Pro and Con of being a Traveling Teacher
November 30, 2021
Central is a big school, but not large enough. There are not enough classrooms for each teacher to have their own, which is why there are traveling teachers. Traveling teachers are much like students in the sense that after a class period they too have to travel in the hallway to a new classroom.
English teacher Kelsey Baldridge was a traveling teacher for six years. This is the first year she has her own classroom. Same with English teacher Martha Omaha.
“I was a traveling teacher at North Star in Lincoln Public schools for three years, at Gretna High School I traveled for one year and had a classroom for the next two.” Omar said. “While teaching in China for a year, I traveled all over the school. I started teaching at Central in 2013 and was a traveling teaching until this year, 2021.”
Michelle Jochim teaches business classes, currently Personal Finance and Entrepreneurship for 12 years. She has been a traveling teacher for 11 of them and currently is one.
Molly McVay has been a teacher for seven years, the last five she has been at Central. She was a travelling teacher for three years.
“I have been in 221 for the last two years. I want to note that many teachers travel for much longer than three years. Mr. Tucker and Mrs. Omar both traveled for ten plus years,” McVay said.
Not having a permanent classroom has both positives and negatives.
Pros of being a traveling teacher:
- “It did make me really organized and intentional about what materials I wanted students to have. Any supplies I wanted students to work with needed to be carried from room to room, so it really had to be worth it”
- “It made me flexible too. Every room was different and every teacher whose room I was in handled traveling teachers differently. In terms of whether those teachers had simple things like tape, or Band-Aids, or tampons for students, I just brought those things with me each day”
- “The most significant benefit to traveling was that I was able to see all parts of the building. I was in classrooms on the first, second, and fourth floor. This connected me to staff all over the building.”
- “This year, I am in classrooms on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floor. I definitely get my work out here at school going up and down all day.”
- “I enjoy the change of scenery. I get to see amazing teachers from all the different departments.”
- “I found joy in being a traveling teacher in the hallways. Students would greet me, help me when I fell on the stairs, and discover how small I am.”
- “Being a traveling teacher is challenging and being able to be in the same room, set up for incoming students, is a huge benefit. It did push me to be organized and helped me learn to adjust quickly during a class period.”
- “There have been so many wonderful teachers here at Central that have shared their spaces with me throughout the years. I am glad I spent years traveling because I had the opportunity to get to know the awesome people I work alongside.”
- “When you are new it is nice to be able to view different classroom spaces and see how other teachers set up their classrooms.”
- “You end up having a “less is more” mentality when it comes to planning and the materials that you lug around to each room. You must do the best with what you can travel with, whether that’s a cart, a cardboard box, a large teacher bag, or another object to carry your materials”
- “The comradery and community that happens because you are sharing a sacred learning space with other educators throughout the day. You see more people throughout the day, and you can collaborate with other teachers.”
- “The best part about being a classroom teacher, is being assigned an office space. My office space was with my Take-Flight mentor, Mrs. Omar. As a new teacher, learning from Omar, hearing her stories, and being able to share resources in that space was invaluable and the reason I am the educator I am today.”
- “There is a cost benefit. You don’t have to spend money in the summer getting your room ready. I think the minimalist approach I mentioned earlier also helped my planning during my first few years traveling.”
Cons of being a traveling teacher
- “I have really appreciated having a “home base” the last couple of years, I think students do too. They know where to find me at any point in the day. Students also know that the room has items like Band-Aids, pads & tampons, and pens & pencils- so even students who don’t know me will pop into 221 if they need an item.”
- “Additionally, perhaps this is superficial, I have really enjoyed decorating the room. I have curated posters and imagery that is deliberately diverse and inclusive- I want students to see themselves reflected in the space they spend time. I also have plants, so there is perpetual greenery and flowers all year long. Students seem to really enjoy taking care of them. It is clean and bright- I like to think it is a place young people want to be.”
- “I am hopeful that as the population of the high schools becomes more balanced there will be fewer teachers who must travel. It is one more thing to add onto the plate of new (to Central) staff members when they arrive. One of the things I appreciate most is being able to stick around for a conversation with a student instead of rushing off to the next class.”
- “I have never had the opportunity to decorate my own space. I’m ok with that. I do have my own desk in a shared office.”
- “Being a traveling teacher is incredibly challenging and making sure you have the necessary material in each room every day is a must. We also have five minutes to move to our new location and set up for incoming students. Students should be impressed with their teachers and their ability to do this is this huge building.”
- “It depends on who you are and what a space means to you. My mom is also an educator, so I had a lot of classroom materials that I wanted to put in my own classroom someday.”
- “Sometimes it would be hard working in another educator’s space if they didn’t treat it the way I hoped to one day.”
- “You also are forced to be prepared because you have a quick turnaround. For instance, you might teach in 230 during first hour and then your next hour you are in 248.”