You’ve probably seen them. Poor things. Navigating the hallways with a massive cart. Or worse. Carrying armfuls of materials while they negotiate crowded the crowded hall like a running back heading to the end zone. The traveling teacher. The homeless teacher. Maybe this was you; this was me for several years. The point is there are additional challenges to being a traveling teacher. In my case it was temporary-if you call six years temporary-but it is a reality. With a little organization, diplomacy, and a sense of humor, we can turn this into a much better reality.
- The obvious is to be organized. Take what you need for the day. If you don’t need your CD player, don’t take it with you. Check your lesson plans for the week and make lists of anything additional you’ll need to take with you each day. Consider it your pilot’s checklist before take off.
- Negotiate with your roommate. I was fortunate to have very generous roommates who provided me with shelf, counter, or drawer space. Some even let me decorate quite a bit more than I really needed to. Talk to these teachers to see f you can have a little corner, how much decorating you can do, etc. Do it as soon as you can so the rules of cohabitation are clear. Most teachers are flexible about giving some space to you. This will lighten your load or your cart tonnage.
- Decorate that cart! This is your billboard. Use posters, flags, dolls-make it colorful, fun, and as crazy as you’d like. Get a horn that plays La Cucaracha. I bet people will clear your path with that (at least at first). Your cart is another form of display. Use every inch you can.
- Learn to pack and store efficiently. For example, you can keep games, dice, fly swatter (for the fly swatter game), flash cards etc. in a mochila. Choose one from a Spanish-speaking country that is colorful or has a traditional motif. It’s not just storage-it’s realia.
These are just a few suggestions. I’m sure you have lots of others. Please share them with us. We travelers can use the help. If it worked for you, it might work for our nomadic colleagues. For those of you who are traveling, hang in there-and think about getting that horn-after all you’ve got places to go.
Are you a traveling teacher? How do you make the best of it?