Fitting in

North HighâEUR(TM)s Spinder keeps his cart handy

North HighâEUR(TM)s Spinder keeps his cart handy

October 11, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

HAGERSTOWN - As a social studies teacher at North Hagerstown High School without a classroom of his own, Sam Spinder said he feels like the proverbial man without a country.

Spinder, 42, previously taught in Baltimore County for six years, where he had his own classroom.

When interviewing for the job that started this fall, he said he knew that if he was hired he would become what teachers and principals call a "traveling teacher," or a "teacher with a cart."

Spinder and three other traveling teachers use a teachers' workroom as their office.

Each has a desk and a desktop computer, he said.

"They told me it would be a traveling position. It is what it is," Spinder said.

Spinder teaches three 90-minute classes, two social studies classes for freshmen and one for juniors.

He teaches in other social studies teachers' classrooms.

From a teacher's perspective, being a traveling teacher has no advantages, but does have its disadvantages, Spinder said.


One of the main disadvantages is that he does not have autonomy over how the classroom looks and how it is set up, he said.

While the teachers whose classrooms he uses are friendly and receptive to him putting some items on the wall, he is still very aware that it is not his classroom.

Another reminder is that some teachers stay in the classrooms during their planning period, which is when he uses their rooms, he said.

He is still getting accustomed to having another teacher in the classroom while he is teaching, he said.

"It does not have to stifle things, but it could," he said.

A traveling teacher has to be very organized, remembering to bring everything he will need for that school day, he said.

"Once I move from my office on to my cart, it is just me and my cart until the end of the day," he said.

His cart has more technological equipment than most teachers, he said. It carries a laptop computer with a DVD player and a projector.

The students help him set up his equipment in the classroom, he said.

After awhile, a traveling teacher gets accustomed to the situation, he said.

"With practice, you get good at it. You get into a rhythm," he said. "You get used to it."

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