More teachers are on the move from room to room

Emilio Del Carmen, Staff Writer

You might be accustomed to seeing teachers rushing through the hallways with carts, just like you during passing time. This year many more teachers are moving between rooms depending on the hour.
South is a large school, with approximately 1900 students, and it continues to grow every year. With such a large student population, a large teacher population is required, and because of this we have run out of rooms for teachers to use.
Full-time teachers teach 5 hours, with two hours of prep. In the past few years it has become more and more common for no classrooms to be left unused during these prep hours. This means that many teachers end up moving from open room to open room during their school day. Currently, 50 teachers switch rooms during the day, which is more than a third of the teachers here at South.
Last year Erick Taggart moved between 3 different classrooms, and the process was often detrimental to his teaching. “When your teacher isn’t organized as the leader of the class, that means the class itself generally isn’t organized,” said Taggart.
Macy Ashby, another teacher who moves around between 3 different classrooms, echoes his sentiment. “I’m more disorganized for the students. It makes it more difficult for me to provide paperwork if they missed assignments, and I think it takes me more time to get settled in because I have to find stuff,” said Ashby.
Just the act of moving can be somewhat unsettling for teachers. Since teachers teach 5 hours, that means with 3 moves a day you would spend 2 hours per location (one would likely be a prep or lunch hour). For Taggart this was difficult. “One class to get set up, one class to get settled in, then you’re on your way,” said Taggart. “It’s stressful on the teacher, and the stress trickles down to the students,” he added.
Most teachers only have to set up one classroom, and are settled in by the end or by the beginning of first hour. “It’s challenging in being able to get stuff set up at the beginning of the day,” said Ashby, which makes sense, given that she has three classroom setups to worry about. “The exercise is nice though!” she added.
Taggart said that many new teachers often had to change rooms more than those who had been here for a while, and that it made it harder. “Newer teachers are the ones who tend to struggle the most and are trying to set themselves up well, and having an additional barrier to teaching well just means you’re putting those teachers that are already struggling in a more difficult position,” said Taggart.
However, not all teachers dislike transitioning rooms. Open teacher Mary Manor actually likes moving around. “It allows our students in the classes to have just one room. [In Open], we have an English 9 room, an English 10 room, an APUSH room, and a world history room,” said Manor.
She added that it helps students have a sense of community that one shared space gives.
Next year more teachers will be sharing rooms. Subjects will have their own rooms, so English classrooms will be more concentrated.
The moving rooms is “student focused, that’s what it is; it’s student focused, for the betterment of the community,” said Manor. Even past that, Manor said she also likes the moving because of the “different people to see, different people in the hallways, different people to talk to…and I like my cart.”
Of the teachers who like or dislike the musical chair game of sharing rooms, they do have one thing in common: they want what’s best for their students no matter where they’re teaching.

Caption: Open teacher Mary Manor wheels her customized cart through the hallway. Manor said she likes moving to different classrooms because it’s “student-focused…and I like my cart.” Photo: Emilio del Carmen