You have just been told that you did a sterling job on your teacher interview
and you landed the job. You are told that the first teacher work day is a week before school starts. You show up ready to roll up your sleeves and really decorate your first classroom
. Then all your hopes are dashed as you are informed that you are a 'floating' teacher. You do not have a classroom of your own and will instead be using five different classrooms throughout the day.
The first key to success when you are floating from class to class is to keep yourself organized
. Because you will be teaching in many locations, you need to have a portable filing box where you can keep your grade book, all items to be graded or returned to students, and other important documents that are needed for class. As you create your plans, you will need to be very clear in exactly what you will for each day's lesson. Create a detailed agenda for each class, listing the needed materials so that you can double check before leaving your desk. There is nothing worse than having planned an American History
lesson that included handouts, visuals, and a short film and realizing after the bell rings that you forgot to bring one of the needed items.
Create Your Own SpaceTypically, a school will give you a cart that you can use to carry around all of your papers, books, and other essential items. Make this your own. Keep it well organized. Remember that you will be carting around sensitive documents on the cart including your grade book so make sure that you have this inside of a filing box or other enclosed area. You don't want to just throw this on top for fear that it could be lost. Other items that you will want to keep secure include test papers and student work. Since you are going to be using your cart each and every day, it can be nice to go the extra step and add some decorations. Ways you can do this include adding pictures and even sewing a cinched skirt to go around the bottom by the wheels.
Build Relationships With Your Fellow TeachersYou will be in other teachers' classrooms each day. Therefore, it is really important that you try to build a relationship with these individuals. Even though the classroom is not technically theirs, they will feel a strong sense of ownership over their space. They might even see you as an interloper, forcing them out of their room during their planning period each day. While most teachers will be understanding about the situation and not blame you, some will feel resentful that you are in their room. Take the time to meet each teacher and allow them to air their feelings to you. This is not to say that you should feel guilty or allow yourself to be browbeaten, but by clearing the air in the beginning you might be able to alleviate some of the resentment against your presence.
Have Students Respect Others' PropertyWhile we always try to teach our students to respect each others' property, this becomes even more important when they are in another teacher's classroom. If the other teacher has the students leave books in their desks or in other areas of the room, make sure your students know that they are not to touch or take these items. If something is missing, realize that there is a strong possibility that you or your students will be blamed.
Spend the Last Few Minutes of Class Picking Up TrashThis last tip is really important for keeping a positive relationship with your fellow teachers. Even if your students did not create the pile of trash that's in the back of the room, there is a very good chance that you will be blamed for it. Therefore, be proactive and make sure that your students clean the entire room each day. While this may seem unfair, the fact is that failing to do this can mean a lot of grief from the other teacher. On the other hand, if you always leave the class clean, there can be nothing for them to complain about.