ITINERANT TEACHER TIPS
By: Carmen Willings
Revised July 30, 2017
Itinerant teaching can be very rewarding but can also be challenging. Creating and recreating schedules, conducting assessments, meeting and collaborating with a variety of teams, not to mention serving a wide range of students with varying ages, abilities and acuities can be overwhelming. Getting organized can help eliminate some of the stress. The following are some tips to help fellow TVI's.
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Become Familiar with the area.
Itinerant teachers spend a lot of time traveling between schools. Knowing different routes can be a lifesaver when there’s heavy traffic or your caught behind a school bus, tractor, snowplow or there’s construction or flooding and road closures (Yes, I've experienced all!). If you are new to an area or are going to a new school, take the time to become familiar with the area. A GPS can be helpful, but an old fashion map can also help give you an overview of an area...and can also be helpful if your built in navigation quits (Yep. That's happened too!). You can opt to purchase a map or you can typically obtain a free map by visiting the local Chamber of Commerce, Visitor Center or Department of Transportation.
Driving is an expected part of your job as an itinerant teacher. Some schools may be just across the street or down the road from each other, but it is more likely that you will spend between 20 minutes to an hour between schools…hopefully not longer! Safety should always come first, so don’t multitask if you are easily distracted or if travel conditions are poor. Driving time can be a good time to think through lessons, upcoming IEPs, conversations or other work related information. It can also be used listening to podcasts…or just singing your heart out to relieve stress. I typically pack small snacks to eat on the road rather than sitting down for a lunch break which frees you to do other activities during your lunch break. Need some portable snack ideas? Here’s some easy to eat and relatively healthy on the road snack ideas:
Your car is your office on wheels so you will want to keep it organized and supplied with materials. Opt for a car that you feel comfortable and safe in, has an available trunk and gets good gas mileage! It is important to keep up with service including oil changes and making sure your tires are in good shape. Joining AAA (American Automobile Association) and keeping up with the membership is something I have chosen to do as an itinerant teacher for peace of mind. Even with AAA, it doesn’t hurt to be familiar with how to change a tire and carry cable jumpers in your trunk. In addition to work binders and materials, I like to keep the following in my car:
I carry a work bag with me throughout the day to keep myself organized. I keep the following items in my bag so I can have everything I need at my fingertips.