Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Sydney Prather (White Station High School)
In late August, Robert Schueller approached the school board at a Shelby County Schools meeting to express his growing concern with staffing at Mitchell High School. “I’m begging you to please give us the staffing to do our jobs,” Schueller pleaded. However this overcrowding problem is not localized to Mitchell High; it plagues schools throughout Shelby County.
While Mitchell does not have enough teachers to service their student body, schools like White Station High School don’t have enough classrooms to service both their staff and students. Staff like William Henry, an introduction to theatre teacher, and Christopher Robbins, an etymology, mythology, and creative writing teacher, are both “full time floaters” meaning they don’t have a classroom. These teachers will use another teacher’s classroom during the other teacher’s break period.
Henry, currently in his second year of teaching, is still adjusting to floating. “It’s hard to have classroom management without a classroom,” Henry said. When teachers are presented with a room with an unfamiliar set up, and different technological abilities, it makes it difficult for teachers to maintain continuity.
Robbins, on the other hand, who is currently in his ninth year of being a floating teacher has found ways to make it all work. “I’m a master at the art of floating,” Robbins said. He has adapted by using notecards (easily stored in his pocket) to give bell work, a small board to give assignments, and setting up after school in the same place every day so students can ask questions. He admits though that it is an added level of responsibility on the students to let him know if they want to meet with him after school.
When confronted with this issue, the school board told WREG that they were still in the process of verifying enrollment numbers for all schools. Attempts by the Teen Appeal to contact the SCS administration for further comments were never answered.
For now, it seems teachers like Schueller, Henry and Robbins will have to continue operating under the current status quo. The question remains though, is the status quo fair? Schueller may think otherwise.
“I’m begging you please stop doing this year after year. We deserve better. Our kids deserve better, these taxpayers deserve better,” he said.