What Is a Floating Teacher?

Floating teachers bring teaching materials with them wherever they go.
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While most teachers carry out their jobs from the comfort of their own dedicated classrooms, some teachers must move from classroom to classroom throughout the day. These floating teachers do everything that any other teacher does, without sinking their roots into a particular room. Teaching on the go is rewarding, and also challenging.


    Floating teachers are scheduled to teach in various rooms, as school scheduling allows. Normally, they do not have their own classrooms because class schedules and school resources do not allow them to stay in one place all day long. Some floating teachers teach multiple subjects in different locations. French classes take place in the language wing of the school, while math classes take place in general subject classrooms, for example. Music and physical education teachers might even float between schools, teaching elementary school kids during part of the day and middle school or high school students at other times. These teachers are normally compensated for mileage and time spent traveling between schools.


    The logistics of teaching while floating between classrooms and buildings can be challenging. Band or orchestra teachers usually have instruments, music stands, and other basic equipment provided at each school, so they do not need to carry these items with them. They may have to bring sheet music, batons and worksheets. English, math and other general teachers often use carts to carry textbooks, graded papers, upcoming assignments and teaching materials between classrooms.


    Organization is essential to the success of a floating teacher. Good filing systems are a must, and most floating teachers use carts equipped with hanging file boxes, as well as storage containers for pens, pencils, markers, chalk and erasers. Teachers who move between schools may invest in rolling organizers, where they keep assignments, sheet music and other class materials in good order. A good organizational system makes the difference between classroom productivity and chaos.

Overcoming Challenges

    Being a floating teacher is not without challenges. Teachers who plan to use media equipment must make arrangements to make sure equipment is placed in each room. Teachers must have the keys to each room they are assigned to and a small permanent work area in each room. A reliable watch helps with time management, and comfortable shoes assist with the amount of walking involved. A positive attitude makes the days go quickly, as floating teachers enjoy additional interaction with colleagues and an active lifestyle. As with any job that requires a professional to be on her feet, rest when possible, eat proper meals and exercise to make the hectic days and moving around much more manageable.

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