Traveling Teachers, Traveling Criteria

Karma Goodson, Reporter


Traveling Teachers, Mr. Irungu and Mr. Sabic. (Karma Goodson )


As I continue my Sophomore year at West, I have realized that some of the most recognizable and involved faces do not have their own space to teach, a space to call their own. These staff members are known as “The Traveling Teachers.” Amoung these traveling teachers are Mr. Sabic and Mr. Irungu. Seeing these educators switch from classroom to classroom everyday has made me and many others think, what is the criteria for getting your own classroom here at West?

English 10, and creative writing teacher Mr. Sabic says “It’s kind of annoying, but I don’t know. I guess it’s not too horrible. I’d personally like a room though.” When reflecting on what he believed the classroom criteria was he shared “I honestly have no idea. I think it mostly depends on your department. Like, if someone in your department leaves then you potentially could get a classroom, but I also know that there are well established teachers who’ve been here since I was that leave their class to go to another classroom everyday.” Mr. Sabic has been working for the Waterloo Community Schools District traveling throughout Waterloo West and Waterloo East switching classrooms eight periods a day for the past four years. This is his first year entirely at West High.

Sabic continued about how not having his own room affects him positively and negativity. He said, “I suppose if we’re thinking about negatives first, I don’t really have a place to call my own. There are things that I want to do when I’m thinking about having my own classroom, but I can’t do them because I don’t have a room to necessarily call mine. And I really don’t have a place to put stuff as well. Like if I want to do more art things, I kind of have to lug around markers and pencils and things like that. That’s always kind of awkward. But I guess one of the positive things is that I don’t have as many responsibilities. Since I don’t have a classroom I don’t have to deal with cleaning it up and all that.”

While this may have its negatives, this has never stopped Mr. Sabic from teaching hundreds of students a day. In some cases not having a classroom is efficient for him and others. “If I can bring anything in my backpack all I really have to do is have my bag and then I’m good. I don’t have to worry about, putting stuff on the walls. I don’t have to make my room look nice because the biggest excuse is Oh, this isn’t my classroom,” he says.

Another teacher that has been affected by classroom traveling is Mr. Irungu. Irungu has been working for the Waterloo Community Schools District for the past 12 years and has taught C3, Credit Recovery classes, and spent time as an Instructional Strategist. On the negative side, he shared “Walking around the whole day–I used to have a cart to carry my classroom supplies. Navigating the hallway during the passing time was challenging and getting started right away after the bell. Nowadays I just carry supplies that fit in my computer bag.  And just the negative feeling that I am in another teacher’s space and I don’t have my own space is unfortunate, students cannot relate to the decoration in the classrooms. I cannot decorate the room the way I want. I have to fit in and adapt to other teachers’ classroom arrangements.  It can be challenging for students to catch me as needed,” he says. On the positive side, he notes he gets his steps in. When asked what he believed the criteria was for his own room he confidently said “I wish I had one. I would make it welcoming and inviting–from desk arrangement, decorations in the room, and stations for different supplies.”

Administration also plays a huge factor in this situation and Mr. Winters was able to offer great insight. He said that teachers getting their own classroom often comes down to no specific reason in particular. He says “what it really boils down to is we’re set up in an academy format. So most of our 9th and 10th grade teachers have a classroom in close proximity to each other. But not everybody always gets a classroom. I mean, unfortunately, some people have to move, but when they do move, we try to schedule it so that they might be in the same room for two or three periods in a row. And then try to find a room close to where they were just so they don’t have to move very far.”

Now Winters shared that there is no certain reason why multiple teachers do not have their own classroom. He noted that he was unsure of a specific criteria needed to get your own classroom at West. He said “I don’t know if I can say there’s really a criteria to having your own classroom. Generally, the more tenured teachers, the teachers that have been here longer have their own classrooms. A lot of times it’s our newer teachers that may have to move but this year, we had 14 new teachers added to the building. And I’m going to guess maybe only three or four of them have to move. So part of that goes back to that Academy structure we were talking about. It’s generally our foreign language teachers, and maybe a handful of maybe a social studies teacher here or there that have to constantly move.”

A portion of providing classroom space to all teachers is having enough space. Winters shared that we currently do not have enough classrooms to support all of our teachers.  “We’re doing the best we can with having teachers move rooms. I would love to see we could build an addition onto West High and provide classrooms for everybody. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to be an option. We have looked at it in the past doing portable classrooms. (“A portable classroom, is a type of portable building installed at a school to temporarily and quickly provide additional classroom space where there is a shortage of capacity.” According to Wikipedia.) And I don’t think that was thought very highly by the district. So right now we’re just doing the best we can to fit all the teachers into a room. Just unfortunately some have to move,” he shared.

There is not much we can do in the sense of giving teachers their own classrooms but we can let these traveling teachers know that their work for us and the school is so deeply appreciated. Classrooms or not they are forever supported by the students and staff around them. Everyday they are here they’re able to work their mind and body. “On a positive note, at least I am more active,” Sabic says.