Teachers without borders: ARS faculty outnumber classrooms


Ms. Thakrar wheels her computer cart into Mr. Ramirez’s room for her advisory. Photo by Gus Flores.

Ms. Thakrar wheels her computer cart into Mr. Ramirez’s room for her advisory. Photo by Gus Flores.

Fall 2017 has brought a new school year, with new students and new classrooms, or a lack thereof. Due to greater year to year student retention and larger incoming sixth grade classes, ARS’s student population has demanded more teachers. However, the greater faculty size has caused several Ann Richards teachers to be without permanent classrooms for the year in order to preserve class sizes below the maximum capacity of 40 students.

Part time teachers and teachers whose classes don’t demand a permanent classroom space, like PALS and Delta taught by Ms. Jane Howk, were chosen to share rooms with other teachers. Most of the mobile ARS teachers switch between several different classrooms a day, holding their classes during other teachers off periods. First year ARS teacher, Ms. Tami Thakrar, who splits the senior class with Ms. Devi Puckett for AP U.S. Government and Economics, uses a cart with supplies needed for her classes, moving it between Ms. Puckett, Ms. Victoria Volker, and Mr. Juan Ramirez’s rooms.

“Even though I love to make a room look good and organized, I’m pretty excited to share a space with Ms. Puckett, I feel comfortable and welcomed and I think in another environment that wouldn’t be the case,” Ms. Thakrar said. “Ms. Puckett doesn’t seem to mind, and I’m actually learning from her and seeing how other students are interacting and how she’s teaching.”

Both Ms. Thakrar and ninth grade english teacher Ms. Anni Lindenburg are working part time this year, which is why they don’t have permanent classrooms, and while Ms. Thakrar would be okay sharing a room in future years, Ms. Lindenburg would definitely want her own space if given the chance.

“It is insane,” Ms. Lindenburg said. “Moving from one classroom to another within a four minute passing period is super stressful, you have to collect everybody’s work and kinda try and pile it in and then you unhook your computer and run to another classroom and try and set up an entire new space before 30 more kids come in. ”

It is not expected that the ARS student population will be decreasing anytime soon and increasing the facilities capacity is a big part of the the proposed 2017 AISD Bond. Positive feedback from teachers in recent years has provided evidence for administration to suggest some shared classroom environments if the bond passes, instead of the traditional one teacher per classroom.

“We’ve been talking about what we want the future of education to look like and when we think about college campuses, for example, professors don’t have their own rooms, they have these big lecture halls that the share with everybody and then they have their own little office space. So we’ve kind of been thinking that that’s the direction we want to move towards,” Assistant Principal Ms. Briana Castano said.