Site icon Laura Randazzo – Solutions for the Secondary Classroom

They See Me Rollin’

Now that the custodians are done waxing the floors, we can get down to the business of setting up our classrooms. Well, most of us. Some teachers, like Carla who emailed me this week, won’t have a room of her own this year. What can she do?

Hi Laura,
I have spent the past two days sifting through your website and watching your videos. I am so excited to have found all this great info, and I feel confident now that I will have a great year!

I am entering my second year of teaching, beginning classes on Aug. 1. Last year, I took the first position offered to me, which was resource and team taught regular 9th grade. This position required me to be Special Ed certified, so I had to rush to my closest testing center and take a test over info I had absolutely no knowledge of. Luckily, I passed and got the job. Unfortunately, I was pretty much thrown to the wolves and expected to figure it all out on my own. I was dealing with learning the IEP process, having overcrowded resource classes, and working with team teachers who had no experience team teaching. It was pretty chaotic, and I had some serious organization and classroom management issues.

This year, I was able to get a job teaching regular ed at the high school in which I graduated and also did my student teaching. I will be in close contact with my mentor teacher and several others that I know well. I’m so happy to be returning to full-time regular ed and to my alma mater, but I’m nervous because the expectations are very high. There are several things I’m worried about, but one of the biggest stressors is that I will not have my own classroom. The school is overcrowded, so many of us will have to float. I love the idea of greeting students at the door and using your bell ringers to start class…but how will I manage that if I’m not in the same class more than one period a day?

I do have a home base (sharing a room with another teacher) with my own little corner and a desk, but I won’t be teaching out of that room; I will be teaching from a cart. I floated last year too, and I had several issues. The kids would be in the room before me, getting riled up, and it would take a lot of time to get them settled and ready to start each day. Also, it took awhile for the Smartboard to load up in order to get my computer set up to display daily agendas, so I was wasting about 5-10 minutes most days just trying to get situated and get the kids settled.

Do you have any tips for floating teachers on how to deal with these types of issues? Any advice would be appreciated!

Thank you so much for all you do,

Hey Carla,
So glad you found the blog! And congrats on sliding into a less-chaotic setting for your second year. The issues of being a floating teacher are definitely big. I’m blessed in that I haven’t had to deal with a Rolling Cart of Doom, but I’m thinking this is a situation where you’re going to get by with a little help from your friends. If I were in your shoes, I’d enlist the help of the teacher in each classroom the period before me. I’d ask those folks if they could fire up the Smartboard at the very end of their hour (that is, if they weren’t already using it) and you could even leave a desktop folder of the bellringer slides to be projected each day/each week. If your colleagues are friends or even your own former teachers, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that they push a button and click open a projection slide file before they leave for their prep period. (And they shouldn’t be leaving the room unattended with students in it before you arrive, anyway. Right?)

Another idea is to use the bellringers as paper-based activities, creating a bulletin board designed just for your classes. For the MUG Shots, for example, I’d have the raw, unedited sentences printed on a half-sheet and train my students to grab the daily copy from the bulletin board. Establish that it’s your expectation that they’re working on editing those sentences as you arrive, take attendance, and get the projector set up. I might even have a student volunteer write the messed up versions of the MUG sentences on the whiteboard while I’m getting plugged in (choose someone with good handwriting) and then use that student’s written work on the board as the background for making the edits once class gets started.

Basically, I think the theme in my message is to try not to take everything on your shoulders. You are just one person and you’re sprinting across campus with a rogue-wheeled roly cart. (Those carts are always at least 25 percent broken in my experience.) Other teachers and your own students are a real resource, so ask for help – it’s a reasonable request, you know.

Good luck getting everything set up this week. Aug. 1 is too soon!
– Laura

Okay, teacher tribe, what do you think? Have you endured a year on wheels? Any tips or tricks that would help smooth Carla’s ride? Leave a comment below and join the conversation!

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