Managing itinerancy

Many language teachers in Australia are itinerant – meaning they travel between schools and even though they may have a ‘base school’, having minimal time in a school means it is difficult to build solid relationships and feel a sense of belonging. I wonder if this is the case in other countries?

Even teachers who are based in one school may find that they move from classroom to classroom, particularly teachers in primary schools. There are many difficulties when you don’t have your own teaching space, but sometimes the fight is just not one that can be won.


*Are you an itinerant teacher?
*What are your experiences, positive and negative, of being an itinerant teacher?
*What’s your advice for surviving and striving when you have a different teaching space for every lesson?

Add to the discussion in the comments below,
or on our facebook page.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at



10 thoughts on “Managing itinerancy

  1. Inform classroom teachers and principal in the meeting and let them acknowledge that you physically need to go/ depart/leave each classroom at least 3 minutes before the real finishing time in order to get to the next classroom. Then you can turn many negative points/difficulty of itinerant teachers’ into some ‘plus’ points:
    1. excersise every 30 – 90 minutes by walking, getting fresh air!
    For you might be too early (1minute, maybe 30 seconds?) to go in the next classroom, also you can :
    2. watch other teacher manage the class, what she/he is teaching, how they are teaching (and admire openly / criticise quietly only in your head only!)
    3. talk to an adult (the classroom teacher).
    No other teachers’d do these unless you are an itinerant during teaching time.


  2. Lots of posters!! Also, using the “not so great” kids (aka the troublemakers) to give you a hand carting things from one room to another. They love that they have been noticed and you get the chance to talk to them on the walk and show that you actually care about them as individuals, despite their disregard for your language.

    Always smile and thank the classroom teacher for letting you into their space. Extra smiles for teachers that leave you board room. Teachers are just like you – they are alone in an isolated classroom and most days, none of those kids are smiling at them.

    Make sure you have a working watch that is synced to school time. If you work at a few schools with different times, make sure you know the differences. This school is 2 mins fast etc. Appoint a student or two to remind you when it is 5 mins to go if you are bad at remembering. They will generally notice.


    • Hi Paula, thanks for your input. I totally agree with you about student involvement. It’s amazing what just a few minutes of showing complete interest in a student can totally transform your relationship with them, and improve your worklife tremendously.


  3. Konnichiwa,

    I think this forum will develop into a valuable space for teachers of Japanese to share issues of significance which affect their daily work. Just reading the first few blogs, I got a sense that the things that I struggle with as a itinerant primary school LOTE (Japanese) teacher in Western Australia are actually shared by many of my LOTE colleagues. This is quite therapeutic to know.

    I should mention that at one of the schools I teach at, I was generously provided with a dedicated LOTE room, but ultimately had to ask the administration to reallocate the space to another purpose as it was taking 20 minutes+ out of each 45 minute lesson to get the kids to and from the LOTE room, and I found it almost impossible to get them settled down once I finally had them seated there. I find it much easier for behaviour management purposes to walk into a classroom where the kids are already seated and calm, and in their own environment.

    Best wishes with this new project.


  4. Thanks Robert, it’s great to hear from you. I’m really hoping that this project will support teachers of all Languages – so your comments are very appreciated.

    It’s interesting to hear your story – many of us spend a lot of energy advocating for our own teaching space, but you are right there are negatives and positives in any situation.


  5. I have had the same experience as Robert, kids feeling like they are “off the leash” when in the LOTE space. My space was reallocated regardless of my thoughts on the matter, but I have looked on it as a positive for those reasons. I have an amazing supportive staff at my two campus school and last year I got the students to ‘rate the teacher’ …having given the staff a crash course in some little things they could do in the TL (count down, ask are you ready, etc.) The kids loved being the experts and helping their teachers pronounce things …they were also very honest in rating their teachers….I gave prizes of lolly jars to the teacher who won each fortnight which gave students an added incentive to coach their teachers…it created quite a buzz as students would race up to me in the lunch yard to report on language their teacher had used. This term I’m planning on a treasure hunt where students have to find a teacher with a particular family configuration (so many siblings, so many children) but can only get answers from staff by using the TL.


  6. Useful iPad app for me as an itinerant is TinyScan which allows me to scan student book work instead of collecting student books. The app scans work and creates a PDF file.


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