Floater Teachers (teaching without a classroom)

Discussion in 'General Education' started by lottalatte, May 26, 2014.

  1. lottalatte

    lottalatte Rookie

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    May 26, 2014

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm new to posting on this website, but I have been following the conversations for quite awhile. Thanks for all of your great information!

    I am currently completing my credential program. I am researching floater teachers for an assignment. Part of my paper will compare the experiences of floater teachers and teachers with personal classrooms. I was hoping that a few teachers could provide their insight.

    Here are few questions that I have:
    1. How long have you been a floater teacher?
    2. What is the most difficult part of being a floater teacher? Please explain.
    3. What advice would you give to other floater teachers? Please be detailed.
    4. Does being a floater teacher offer any advantages? If so, what?
    5. Please provide any additional information about your experiences a floater teacher, or a being a teacher with a personal classroom.

    I'm looking for a much detail as possible. Please provide any information that you can.

    Thank you for your time. Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Best Wishes,
    db
     
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  3. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    May 26, 2014

    It's been awhile since I've floated, or had someone float into my room, but here are my responses:

    1. How long have you been a floater teacher? I was a floater just one year, my first year teaching! That happens so frequently at large high schools, and I get their reasoning, but it's just wrong. They don't want to displace a veteran teacher, but my goodness, few first year teachers are equipped with handling the organizational demands of being a floater.

    2. What is the most difficult part of being a floater teacher? The most difficult part for me was organizing my materials and keeping track of paper work. I had to have everything ready at my finger tips, and as a first year teacher, sometimes I didn't know what I needed in the lesson until I had already started it! Lol. For example, maybe during a proof reading lesson I would suddenly get an idea for something useful to do with post it notes, but I didn't have any with me. NOW when I get a brilliant idea mid lesson, I can just go to my supply cabinet and pull out what I need! :haha:

    3. What advice would you give to other floater teachers? Please be detailed. A couple of things... you have to be as organized as possible. Color code everything by block/class period, so that you know every time you see blue, it's something for first block. Insist on some sort of lockable rolling cart to move around from room to room. And, here's the tough one, make sure the "home" teacher understands that during that class period, that's your room. She needs to give you space on the board, a spot in the room to keep your things, and she needs to leave when you're teaching! A lot of teachers get very upset when someone floats in their room, as if the floater is happy about the whole thing. Now some of this is because floaters have been known to be disrespectful to the home teachers--letting kids mess up the room or steal things, etc. Respect for each other as professionals goes both ways, but it's often very difficult to achieve.

    4. Does being a floater teacher offer any advantages? If so, what? The only advantage we had was that we didn't have a "Home room" period at the beginning of the day when they made announcements and such, so we had an extra 20 minutes to get ready in the morning. It was always much needed!

    5. Please provide any additional information about your experiences a floater teacher, or a being a teacher with a personal classroom.
    It's really important that both sides realize that ultimately the classroom belongs to the people of the school district, not to any individual teacher. Having said that, though, there are so many teachers who spend HUNDREDS of their personal dollars decorating and maintaining their rooms. There has to be a lot of mutual respect for floating to work well. In my old building, our principal asked for teachers to volunteer their classrooms, and some did (including me, because I remembered the pain), and that helped. He also
    tried to keep it all departmentalized so that ELA teachers went into other ELA rooms, even better if they taught the same prep. That was difficult to manage and schedule on the administrative end, but it was well worth it because usually people in your own department are more helpful to each other than they are to say, the health teacher.


    Thank you for your time. Please let me know if you have any questions.
    Please forgive any typos! I'm doing this at 5am on my iPad! I feel like a chicken pecking at the "keyboard" on this thing! :lol:
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    May 26, 2014

    I've not floated but I've had someone floating in my room many times.

    There is some etiquette to floating that many floating teachers do not realize.

    While a floating teacher inhabits the space for a class period, the responsibility for the room remains with the other teacher. I've had to deal with clogged sinks, paint on my tables, chewed gum everywhere, profanity carved into desks, messy floors and trash in drawers because floating teachers are not concerned about the room. It isn't "theirs" so why bother?

    Many of the items in the classroom belong to the regular teacher. This may include the staplers, pencil sharpeners, Kleenex, consumables, etc. Again, many floating teachers don't care if their students use or abuse these things because they didn't purchase them. I lost three boxes of Kleenex in ONE day because art students were practicing shading with charcoal. The floating teacher just shrugged. I finally had to spend five minutes of MY instructional time each day so I could lock up my personal belongings to protect them. And then spend five more minutes unloading them for the next class.

    Floating teachers use regular teachers' supplies as well. I've found that many men in particular, are very hard on expo markers. They'll press so hard on the board that the nibs go flat. These are markers that I buy myself (or are given to me by students) and are getting ruined. I expect my students to bring their own supplies to class. The teachers that have floated into my room have had no qualms about giving their students my paper, pencils, erasers, etc. They also don't mind using the technology I've purchased or have had given to me, sometimes letting the bulbs stay on while nothing is being done. I have to replace those myself. I easily spend $100 extra each semester someone floats into my room.

    I've been very fortunate that the floating teachers in my room have not minded if I stay and work while they teach. Which is only fair. We do not have a common work area where teachers can quietly work. Floaters are given a desk in a quiet space that they share but the displaced teachers are not. We can work in the library but not input grades since the computers are visible to all. Floaters get undisturbed planning time whereas the floatee does not. This allowance to the floatee can have its bad side though. Floaters tend to come to class late and leave class early since they are travelling. If the floatee is not in her room, the students are unsupervised for about 3/4 minutes. A lot of damage gets done in that time.

    Floaters, at my school, do not have homerooms (there are a lot of responsibilities tied to homeroom), assigned lunch/bus duties, have classroom responsibilities (textbook inventory, technology inventory, cleaning the room at the end of the year, setting up the room at the beginning, workorders for broken equipment). Which I think is perfectly fair. I'm willing to do more work because I know I have it easier year-round.
     
  5. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    May 26, 2014

    It's been a long time since I floated but here goes...

     
  6. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    May 26, 2014

    Currently a floater. I hate it, there's no advantages. There's lots of sucky parts- carrying stuff from class to class, not able to put posters or projects on the wall, forgetting things in another classroom, dragging lab equipment to different classrooms, dragging the skeleton to different classrooms.

    We don't have carts or anything. I have a box of supplies which I carry to each class. It has my stapler, a calculator, markers, etc. I also have folders for each class and I just grab the book and folders before heading to class.

    I guess the positive side is it's made me become much more organized!
     
  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    May 27, 2014

    I've only seen this practice at the secondary level (teachers without their very own classrooms).

    One year, I was slated to share my room with the after school program. The program coordinator did not leave my materials, desks, and other things the way I left them at the end of the day! I voiced my concerns to the program coordinator and my principal. A week later, they moved the program to another classroom. I work much too hard to come to school in the morning and have to pick up after others who didn't respect my space. I'm a firm believer in leaving things the way you found them!
     
  8. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    May 27, 2014

    I was a floating teacher for two years in high school. Most of the teachers were good about sharing the board. In addition, our school provided each teacher with a desk in the department center for each subject. Thus, most teachers were sharing their rooms at some point, even if the room is primarily theirs. I made my desk at the department center my home base, and worked there in my planning periods. I needed to be organized and color code, and carry around a bag that would fit my laptop. It was hard for me to find a room to give extra help in, which was my main concern.
     
  9. lottalatte

    lottalatte Rookie

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    May 27, 2014

    Thanks so much for the detailed response! Color coding sounds like an excellent idea. And, I had not even thought about floaters not having a homeroom. Thank you again for all of your help!

     
  10. lottalatte

    lottalatte Rookie

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    May 27, 2014

    Thank you for this information. It is really helpful to see this issue from both perspectives.

     
  11. lottalatte

    lottalatte Rookie

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    May 27, 2014

    Thank you so much for responding! I had thought about bringing markers, but not supplies such as tissues.

     
  12. lottalatte

    lottalatte Rookie

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    May 27, 2014

    Thank you so much for responding! Carrying lab equipment from room to room does not sound fun. Hopefully you get you own classroom soon!

     
  13. lottalatte

    lottalatte Rookie

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    May 27, 2014

    Great information. Thank you so much! I had not considered after school programs using teachers' classrooms. Thanks agian.

     

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