Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The cart as advocacy

Have you just learned that next year you won't have a room? You have to fit all of your papers, props, technology, and other teaching materials on a cart? After you have a good cry (and possibly a large drink) it's time to look at the positive side. Being on a cart is a great opportunity to show off and advocate for your program.

Don't get me wrong - I loved having a room this year but I'm just as grateful that I spent the first two years at my school on a cart. Here's why...

Teachers all over the building could SEE and HEAR what I was doing with students in Spanish class. If they chose to stay in their room during Spanish class they got first-hand knowledge of what was going on in my program. 

They told me things like, "Wow! The kids are learning so much more Spanish this year." (Not true - but the previous Spanish teacher had a room so they never heard the kids speaking Spanish.) 

They told their students, "I just love hearing you guys speak Spanish! I wish I had had Spanish when I was your age." 

They emailed my principal and wrote things like, "I just want to let you know that Ms. K is doing a super job."

And it wasn't just teachers who were more aware - parent volunteers working in the rooms also got first-hand experience with their child's Spanish class. (And parents that volunteer are also the ones that serve on SBDM committees, PTA, and email the principal & superintendent when their child's language program is on the chopping block.)

All that exposure and all I had to do was my regular teaching gig. There are other ways to get similar exposure - I sent my administration videos and pictures of what we were doing in Spanish class. This year I invited teachers and administrators to certain lessons (the ones with food) and my goal next year is to send home a regular newsletter to parents and families but being on a cart is its own special advocacy. 

Are there challenges to teaching off a cart? Oh yes! But are there some special benefits too? MOST DEFINITELY.  So mourn your room (if you were lucky to have one to start with) but then buck up and realize what a great opportunity to show off your program to teachers and parents teaching off a cart will be. #ThatsHowIRoll


  1. What a great post on making lemonade out of lemons! I was on a cart for 13 years before getting my own classroom, and everything you say is true. (Though the day when my cart fell down the stairs and all my materials went flying I thought I was going to cry! lol) The key point here is advocacy.... elementary programs frequently find themselves in danger of cuts or even elimination and anything we can do to share what we do in support of our programs is so important. Thanks for sharing!

    Mundo de Pepita, Resources for Teaching Spanish to Children

    1. I'm thankful that there are no stairs at my schools although I frequently ran over kindergartners (although I strictly maintain that THEY ran into ME) when I had a cart. I offered to go back on it next year in exchange for a schedule where I saw everyone every other day. In the end I was super lucky and we worked it out so that I see 2-5 in the room and I'll push in on a cart with K-1. All 600 kids will get Spanish every other day - my 2 years on the cart has paid off!