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Q & A

November 18, 2014 Gordon Thomas, Executive Secretary

Make the right moves on moving day

Question: Many schools have temporary classrooms, and classrooms are being reassigned based on enrolment. Some shuffles are taking place in the middle of the school year and are happening at the request of administration based on overall school need. Whose responsibility is it to move materials and equipment when a teacher is moved from one location in a school to another location in the same school? And when should these moves take place if they require teacher involvement?

Answer: Staff in the ATA’s Member Services program area often get calls from teachers about moving their materials, usually in June when the classroom shuffle begins. Classroom moves are inevitable, so it’s best to keep some basic principles in mind.

Teachers are in schools to teach, not to move boxes, furniture or equipment. The physical relocation of these items should be left to either the custodial staff at the school or district staff who normally move furniture and equipment.

Teachers should pack up their own materials to ensure items are not misplaced or misdirected. Putting items in boxes and labelling the boxes is teachers’ responsibility. As with a personal move from one home to another, teachers would want to pack their own materials rather than letting a stranger do it. When all the boxes are ready to go, in come the movers. When it comes to moving school resources, this should be left to expert movers, not teachers.

In terms of when these moves should occur, the packing of the boxes can occur during the regular working hours of the teacher. If there is an urgent need to move quickly, time should be provided during the day so the teacher can pack up and be ready to go. It would not be reasonable to expect a teacher to teach all day, then pack boxes, do marking and planning, move materials to a new classroom and be ready for the next day.

If a teacher is directed to go to school on the weekend to prepare for the move, the teacher should be compensated for this extra work time on the weekend either by receiving a day in lieu or 1/200th salary for the day in question.

If the move needs to occur over a weekend, then the teacher time required to be ready for Monday morning needs to be acknowledged. ❚

Questions for consideration in this column are welcome. Please address them to Gordon Thomas at Barnett House (

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