I admit that I never planned to teach out of the trunk of my car. If I had, I would have gotten a different vehicle! My little sedan just didn’t seem to have enough room in it after working for a few months. Most of the teachers I know did not attend a, “How to Be an Itinerant Teacher,” class. Yet, many of us are put in the position of being traveling teachers. In one of my first English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching positions, I traveled to four different schools. I was the elementary itinerant teacher in a small town and one of two ESL teachers working at the elementary level in that district.
There were many aspects of being an itinerant teacher that I had not experienced before accepting this position. The problem that impacted my teaching most directly was the lack of supplies and materials at each site. Rather than a full sized classroom, I was given a small space at each location to meet with students, and there were neither supplies nor materials readily available. Organizing my life as an itinerant teacher became my top priority.
Below are 10 items I found indispensable. (I am using some affiliate links here.)
A Hand Cart:
This cart is similar to the one I used. I chose to highlight this one because in addition to the hard plastic sides, the ability to fold, and the size, it also provides a cover. The cover would be great on a rainy day.
Make sure that whatever you choose can be used easily with hanging file folders. These mini-file cabinets were very handy for carrying important documents and materials around to various schools. I could pick out which files I needed in each building, tuck them into the rolling cart and leave the rest in the trunk.
I used multi-colored file folders to distinguish between schools. Then with in the hanging file folders I used plain colored folders to indicate different students or grade levels.
This helped keep me dry and also protected supplies and materials.
Living in an area where it rains, snows and sleets, these proved to be a life-saver, I used these to cover items that might be open to the elements while going inside. The flexibility of the shapes I could protect really helped.
#2 pencils, pre-sharpened colored pencils, a stapler, child-sized scissors, paper clips, crayons, markers, white board markers, 2 pocket file folders.
Educational Learning Games:
I carried many different educational games including The Scrambled States of America and Guess Who. Stay tuned for the next Teaching from the Trunk post for a more detailed list of games to use as an itinerant teacher.
I chose to carry 8 white boards in my trunk with me as most of my groups were from 4 – 8 students.
A Multi-Purpose Pocket Chart:
I find calendar charts very versatile. They can be used for family word cards, numbers, calendar activities, and much more.
A Storage Bin:
A large plastic bin to store games and supplies not needed daily. This keeps your trunk organized while the supplies are still within easy reach.
Those are the top 10 supplies that helped me survive my first years as an itinerant teacher. What would you add to the list? Feel free to post in the comments.
If you found this article helpful you might also enjoy part 2 of this series: Teaching from the Trunk | 7 Board Games To Play with English Learners