What Is A “Floating” Teacher?

catherine barrett
Catherine Barrett is an Arizona Governor’s Master Teacher and currently Chair of citizens initiative petition, A Classroom Code of Ethics For Public Schools K-12. You can find her on Twitter @ReadersLeadPD, and on Facebook at Yes4Ethics

Have you heard of a “floating teacher”?  Is a teacher regulated to teach but has not been assigned a fixed classroom, may or may not have a fixed class roster. They “float” to a classroom as a “push-in teacher”.  It is frustrating for the teachers,  students, and families when their teacher does not have a permanent home base just an email address as their point of contact. Also, devices such items as a fixed base telephone, printers and internal lines of communication just don’t exist. Contact then becomes a public address system campus-wide. Are there intangibles? Yes, benefits to traveling, a floating teacher gets to meet and greet many  faculty, guest visitors, students and students they normally wouldn’t have known on their assigned campus.

Being assigned as a floating teacher, I have experienced first hand the thought process and technology available within the campus. What’s being purged and the inter-actions of the administration, students, and teachers. One of the excellent features is to be able when in a welcoming environment, it is to collaborate with all parties.  Good, bad or indifferent.

Traveling or floating teachers is not for everyone as it does remove one from the core groups and compass situations. You often are greeted daily with many questions! First being, what did you do?  Followed by, “We thought you left”?  You know, I have been assigned the closet adjacent to the teachers lunch room.

About Catherine A. Barrett 9 Articles
Catherine Barrett is an Arizona educator and chair of the Classroom Code of Ethics organization.


  1. as professional with MATH/MIS masters they wanted me to take 40 hours at UA for teaching certificate at my expense
    or get measly $120 per day when you teach – $600 week – sorry but being cheap with teacher shortage – they made their own problem

  2. If she is part of the public school system then she is part of the problem. Public education has failed miserably.

  3. who’ is the floater? the substitute because the union offers so much time off the real teachers are ‘off’ ? How is there continuity of the course of teaching if a floater is ‘on occasion’ in the class driving the boat? Floater is a word for ‘drifter’ lost without a guide… where are we’ where are we going’ who needs more help than others’ who to look out for’ what time is lunch?

  4. Arizona’s public schools are in the midst of a severe teacher shortage, as are public schools in many other states. I can’t think of any good reason why a school or district would create a “floating teacher” position. If this position is used to mentor beginning teachers, there are more effective and fiscally responsible ways to accomplish this. If this position is used as a “permanent” substitute, it is much more expensive than hiring a substitute on an as-needed basis. Tax paying parents should demand more information if there is a “floating teacher” at their children’s school(s).

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