Osborne Earl Smith
There are a lot of students at West – around 1700 of them. Along with the large number of students, there are also a lot of teachers – so many that teachers no longer get their own classrooms.
Sharing a room with other teachers has its pros and cons, but it’s a reality. Social studies teacher Mr. Stephen Paulson said, “As a teacher, sharing a classroom isn’t an ideal situation but at Greeley West it’s necessary. Every teacher deserves a space where they can provide a quality learning experience for their students,” Paulson said.
One of the problems Paulson sees is a sense of ownership of the room. “But when sharing a room is necessary, it’s important that both the teachers and all students take ownership of the space and take care of it,” Paulson added.
For Consumer and Family Studies teacher Ms. Patricia Knepper, sharing a classroom is also an inconvenience. “Sharing a room is challenging. It is kind of like having a roommate. You don’t really have your own space. It can be hard to display student work or have on-going projects. When students are looking for you during your off blocks, they aren’t really sure where to find you,” Knepper said.
Knepper also sees respect for the room being an issue. “Sometimes students from another class aren’t respectful of the equipment and projects that are commonly being worked on in my classroom,” she said.
Depending on the teacher, there is a desire for personal space. At times it may seem like people are invading it. Knepper said, “Sometimes it does feel like that. During my planning period, I sometimes need things from my classroom and I feel like I am interrupting them if I need to go get supplies or even print things off.”
Special education teacher Ms. Conley Marquez does not have her own classroom, but finds personal space in an office that she shares with two other people.
The equipment in Knepper’s room does not get used every block, but that can be a problem too. “With the equipment I have in my classrooms, at times they need to be repaired. Repair men can’t always come to fix the equipment when the room is empty, so I have to interrupt whatever class is in the room at the time,” Knepper said.
Both teachers acknowledge that their partner teachers do try their best to make sure the school and their classrooms are kept organized. If you are a traveling teacher, it may be harder to make sure the room was how it was when you got there. Paulson who was once a traveling teacher himself, stated, “The condition of my room is always clean and organized. The way it looks after it’s used by other teachers all depends on who teaches there. Most teachers make sure the space is treated properly and students pick up after themselves.”
“It’s hard being a traveling teacher. I did it for two years and I always made sure the rooms looked good after my class was done. But this doesn’t always happen,” Paulson added.
If you are a traveling teacher, it may be harder to make sure the room was how it was when you got there. For Marquez, staying organized is not too hard. “I just try to have different binders for each class. I also have a notebook and my laptop. The general teachers have most of the materials so I do not need much,” Marquez said.
Knepper is also understanding of traveling teachers. “I usually have to pick up some things that students leave lying around,” Knepper said. “I try to leave it a workable space for other teachers and most of the time they do as well. But because they are traveling, they don’t always have time to make sure that everything is cleaned up.”