Because I drive so much I am always thinking about staying in my lane…I obviously don’t want to get into an accident, but I am thinking about how as itinernat teachers we are always trying to stay in our lane. I know that I am very aware of my role with my students. I have clear lines with the relationship with them, but I think that the relationship we build with staff can be very difficult to navigate. Have you had moments where you stop and say to yourself “wow did that just happen?”
I think it is hard for classroom teachers to really understand what we do, what it is like to travel, what it is like to follow a schedule that you make from thin air every September and what it feels like to be “homeless”. Some teachers get it (total blessings) but for those who don’t I just try to breathe and take a second to try to see their perspective. I feel that some think we are just roaming wild and free. This is the exact opposite. I find, I feel guilty when I am a few minutes late or have to adjust my schedule to accommodate a student not in their building. I try my best everyday, but the years I have a crazy, busy schedule I have to allow myself some grace. LIFE happens. I might need to talk to a teacher about progress, take extra time with a student if we are working through something or make a potty stop.
Staying in my “lane” can be hard sometimes. My students are sometimes the only hearing impaired or deaf student in their building. That can be difficult for everyone to navigate. I feel like because I am in a supporting role- finding the balance of who needs more of my support or voice can be either very clear or a bit fuzzy. I sometimes I feel I understand a student better because I see them one on one and understand their abilities, however I think there are times, depending on the student’s personality, the classroom teacher sees and knows more or different things. When everyone understands the student’s abilities and needs I find it is so much easier.
I have started making forms and resources to help me stay focused and help others help me. I had these gross looking forms for years. This year I needed to jazz them up, put my spin on the basics. I love color! And who could miss this!!!
Parent teacher conferences were an area I was not that awesome in. Sometimes they are at times I can not attend, due to my schedule in other buildings. I fill out and print this sheet and give it to the classroom teacher and they will add in information if I need more facts. I use these to help think of goals, track progress and plan lessons. This information helps me stay in my lane, focus me and highlight gaps and cracks I need to fill. Sometimes I have it partially filled in and attend the meeting-taking notes in the empty areas or I fill it out and give it to the classroom teacher to share with my families at the meeting. This has been very effective and looks much nicer than what I was using before.
As an itinerant teacher I feel like I am trying my best to advocate, teach and support my students with balance. I am constantly thinking of ways to fill this role with grace and humor….a year can be long!
How are you making this work? What strategies or things are you doing for success? I would love to hear from you.