This article explains the concept of a floating teacher as well as examines the pros and cons of floating.
Define "Floating Teacher"
A floating teacher has no home—a classroom assigned to him or her. A teacher who floats uses the classrooms of other teachers during their planning period.
What's the Need for a Floating Teacher?
Many teachers who float are recent additions to the staff—whether hired between terms or right before the commencement of school. Generally, a teacher who is hired to float is hired to alleviate overcrowding in a specific grade and gets the overflow. Sometimes, schools do not do the proper planning and end up with more students than they anticipate, so they have to hire additional teachers to alleviate overcrowding in classes. In this case, a teacher who floats is a welcomed addition to the staff because he or she reduces class sizes in schools.
The Disadvantages of "Floating"
Although a reduction in the class sizes in schools is necessary, floating is not without its disadvantages.
The disadvantage of being a floating teacher is the lack of a permanent classroom. Without having a place to keep all their resources, these teachers have a difficult time establishing an organizational system. In essence, a floating teacher’s satchel becomes his/her desk, and his/her classroom may take the form of a rolling cart, if one is lucky enough to obtain one.
Now, an experienced teacher who has an organizational system in place can better deal with floating than an inexperienced teacher. The experienced teacher will know how to cope and how to organize all their classes and documents. Of course, an experienced teacher would never agree to floating.
No Place to Work
Another disadvantage that many floating teachers experience is finding a place to work during their planning periods. Without a classroom, it is hard to find a quiet place in which they can get their tasks accomplished. Sometimes, a teacher will extend his/her classroom for use while he/she is working and that would allow a floating teacher a desk to work at as well as a computer to use to put together curriculum and to enter grades.
Floating is Difficult
All in all, floating is difficult for any teacher, but if teachers are willing to share their spaces and their resources, such situations will work out. Just remember that floating is definitely better than not having a job at all.